Farmers called to help save the
THE RSPB is inviting land managers across the north of England to become 'Lapwing Champions' by entering its annual competition that offers a £1,000 for the farmer who does most to help one of Britain's favourite birds.
Operation Lapwing has been set up to recognise and reward the work done by farmers both nationally and regionally in making improvements to increase the number of lapwings on their land.
Last year's regional champion farms in North Yorkshire and the RSPB is reiterating that any farmer can enter, so long as they have had at least one pair of breeding lapwings on their land.
Lapwings have declined by almost 50 per cent since 1970 because of the loss of mixed farming - farms where both grassland and arable land are found together.
The cultivation of autumn rather than spring sown crops is also leaving too few bare patches for nesting in spring. Once eggs have hatched, the birds seek damp grassland.
David Hirst of the RSPB's Northern England region said: "The lapwing is one of the north's favourite birds. It is instantly recognised, its call is one of the first sounds of spring and its courtship display is stunning. I hope that farmers who are helping safeguard the important breeding lapwing populations in this region will enter the competition.
The RSPB launched Operation Lapwing, now sponsored by Jordans Cereals, in 2003 and entry details are available at www.rspb.org.uk/operationlapwing - by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Jenny Atkins on 01767 680551.
The closing date is March 16, 2007.