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23rd May 2022


Our rare summer visitors, the corncrakes, began arriving back on Skye in late April and so far we know of at least 10 individuals on the island. We need to keep track of where these birds are as the season progresses, partly for the official RSPB Summer Survey which is used to monitor long term population trends, but also so we can offer support to local crofters who may be unaware that they have a corncrake in their hay or silage fields.

If we know that there is a corncrake in the area we can provide payments to local crofters through the National Heritage Lottery Fund  Corncrake Calling Project. Primarily this is to delay their mowing until the corncrakes have finished nesting and then to use the corncrake friendly mowing technique which allows corncrake adults and chick to escape to the safety of the field margins during the mowing process. This is crucial to promote their breeding success and your reports really help.

This wide ranging project also aims create a Corncrake Calling touring exhibition designed by school students. After learning the basics on corncrakes these young people were given free rein, and they have produced a stunning and eclectic mix of ideas from corncrake dating apps, corncrake haute couture to comic strips and computer games. Watch out for it touring Skye this summer.

Meanwhile, if you hear or see a corncrake please let me know where and when you heard it by phoning or texting the number below, or report to Skye Birds. If you get a recording, even better!

These birds are extremely rare and vulnerable so it is important that we don’t disturb or approach them. Best way is to keep out of the meadows and stay on the roads. Good luck!

Thanks and have a great summer!


Shelagh Parlane