Yellowhammers: How you can help!

Yellowhammer singing Cr. Clive Hurford

What now for the Yellowhammers at Templeton Airfield and beyond?

The current situation for the species appears to be bleak but discussions with other Pembrokeshire Yellowhammer supporters have evolved and there is a realisation that we could work together to try and reverse the fortunes of the species. Roger Mathias, a local Biodiversity consultant, has been working with Puffin Produce, one of Wales’s largest vegetable suppliers, to support wildlife but particularly Yellowhammers, on their farms, specifically in relation to their Root Zero potato production. Key to this is the provision of winter food. Roger has advised farmers on growing winter cover crops and introduced farm-sized feeders which have been successful in attracting many farmland birds, including Yellowhammers – on a farm where they had not been seen for 16 years! Roger is working with local ornithologists to survey the impact of these measures in coming years.

In Templeton, the question of where our local Yellowhammers go to feed in the winter is now critical.  GPS tracking could provide concrete data on the movements of the birds and identify their wintering locations. We could then liaise with the local land-owners to help ensure that food is available for the birds away from their breeding sites.

More widely, encouraging people, across Wales, to submit sightings of Yellowhammers, either into BirdTrack or the LERC Wales App will be critical in helping to determine the status and trends in Yellowhammer populations into the future. If we can work together to build this evidence, it could be used to engage with local people, farmers and other landowners supporting them to adopt practices which benefit Yellowhammers and other struggling species. How wonderful it would be, if, in a few years’ time, we recorded an increase in the Yellowhammer numbers across Pembrokeshire (and beyond) and that magical song became a familiar sound across the countryside once more.