Inch Farm has been a leader in the conservation of corn buntings, reed buntings, and yellowhammers for many years.

The farm has participated in the corn bunting recovery project and voluntarily managed habitat for these birds. In 2016, the farm joined the government-led Agri-Environment Climate Scheme to further protect corn buntings and other species. As a demonstration farm, Inch Farm has welcomed visitors to see the changes that have led to a significant increase in the number of corn bunting, reed bunting, and yellowhammer territories between 2015 and 2018.

Thanks to the efforts at Inch Farm and other conservation projects, corn bunting numbers have more than doubled since their lowest point in 2001 and increased by 70% since 2014. The conservation success of corn buntings in Fife is a testament to the importance of habitat management and protection."



The current Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) is helping to protect corn buntings and other farmland birds in the East Neuk of Fife, a vital stronghold for these birds.

The AECS provides the three key elements that corn buntings need to thrive: winter seed food, summer insect food, and safe nesting places. One of the biggest benefits of the AECS is the availability of a variety of seed food sources throughout the winter, which helps to prevent seed depletion on the farm and ensures that seed is available even in harsh weather conditions when fields may be covered in snow.

By supporting the AECS and other conservation efforts, we can work to protect corn buntings and other important species.

AECS Inch 2021 Environment Management Map 2023 page 0001

Wider context

Wider context

The AECS scheme plays a very important role in the wider landscape as it is in the center of the corn buntings’ heartland in Fife. As corn buntings prefer to remain local it is of great importance to provide for their needs close to their home farms. The farm also ties in with a network of other farms in the area which manage for corn buntings through AECS or on a voluntary basis (through greening) providing the big three on a true landscape scale. Finally, some changes in farming systems in the wider landscape will lead to the loss of a range of arable habitats which were historically very well used by corn buntings. It is not clear yet whether the change to grass-based systems nearby will have an impact on corn bunting distribution but at this stage it is important to keep a good mix of high-quality arable habitats for corn buntings in the area to allow them to adapt gradually to the changes.

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