Endangered bird on the rise

The endangered corn bunting bird makes an appearance, prompting encouraging new information of a population rise

Corn bunting Miliaria calandra, male singing from twig, Lemnos, Greece, April

A healthy flock of the largest of the bunting birds, the corn bunting, has been spotted on a field in Wiltshire near Devizes. This sight of the lowland farmland bird comes as a pleasant surprise and gives fresh hope as the bird was considered a dying breed. Forming flocks in the winter, the corn bunting’s numbers have dwindled, making sightings a rare occasion.

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The viewing of the corn bunting birds comes at a time where, over the past 40 years, numbers have plunged to just 10,000, making them an endangered species. During summer they can be seen open farmland and in the winter they prefer to make their homes in root crops, stubbles, cattle yards, weedy fields or stockyards, while living off seeds and insects. With this in mind, a Natural England scheme has been put into action as it sets about paying farmers to improve their environment. This has had a healthy contribution to the growth of the population of the corn burning birds, as it continues to see numbers rise.