Corncrake Conservation

Protecting Corncrakes and their habitats

Our staff are involved in Corncrake conservation measures including habitat management on Tory Island off the coast of Co Donegal and on our Termoncarragh Reserve in Co Mayo.

Our work matters

BirdWatch Ireland is working closely with landowners and farmers to help with the conservation of one of Ireland’s most critically endangered birds.

Corncrake trends

Corncrakes were once numerous across Ireland but are now confined to Donegal and West Connaught. In 2018, 151 calling males were recorded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) approximately two thirds of which are in Donegal. Just over half the population is now confined to offshore islands. Strongholds include Inishboffin, Tory and the mullet Peninsula. Over the past 10 years numbers have fluctuated between 100 and 200 pairs.

Corncrake populations in Donegal, West Connaught and Shannon Callows 2008-2018
tractor-carrying-out-corncrake-friendly-mowing

Corncrake Conservation

Corncrakes in Ireland use traditional hay meadows and other grasslands such as silage fields. The NPWS Corncrake Grant Scheme offers payments to farmers in return for delaying cutting their grass. This delayed approach gives the Corncrake an opportunity to escape the blades of the mower and  allow it to nest twice and rear its chicks. Farmers are encouraged to mow their fields from the centre out and at a slower speed. This strategy allows any remaining Corncrakes to escape to the outside edges of a field without becoming trapped .

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