Farmer Steve Bumstead has always considered wildlife when managing his farm, leaving aside field margins and not ploughing until after Christmas so birds can forage among the stubble. He’s been rewarded this winter by an unprecedented number of corn buntings flocking on his land – no less than 700, which has been estimated as 4% of the entire corn bunting population in the UK. The unusual size of the flock is thought to be a consequence of the recent prolonged freezing weather.
The corn bunting has been in sharp decline as a consequence of modern farming practices, so conservation researchers will be investigating Steve’s Bedfordshire farm to try and learn exactly why it is so attractive for them. RSPB Photo by Steve Round