Cirl bunting

Lower Greenway Farm, on the Greenway estate, is home to a rare bird: the cirl bunting.

Cirl buntings at Greenway

Lower Greenway Farm is a strong hold for the rare cirl bunting. This once widespread bird is now confined to a handful of locations, mainly in South Devon near the coast. They require a mixed farmland habitat – nesting in hedgerows and foraging in grassland during the summer, then feeding on spilt grain in stubble fields during the winter.

 

Why are cirl buntings rare?

Changes in farming practices, and the fact that they don’t move more than 1¼ miles from their breeding sites, have led to them declining massively in recent times.

 

Improving conditions

Breeding farmland bird surveys are being undertaken with help from a local volunteer group and the RSPB, and an assessment of any improvements that could be undertaken to improve conditions for cirl buntings is currently being made. The team of National Trust rangers will then work with the tenant farmer at Lower Greenway Farm to carry out work that is needed to improve the area for the cirl buntings.