With skylarks singing gloriously in the skies above Richmond Park, signs of spring are returning. Now visitors are being alerted to help these endangered birds.
Richmond Park is one of the very few and best breeding areas for Skylarks in Greater London but these threatened* ground-nesting birds are easily disturbed by dogs and Park visitors. Friends of Richmond Park patron, Clare Balding, presents a new film asking visitors to help protect the skylarks. She says:
“This is a protected skylark breeding area; please keep your dogs on leads, stick to the main footpaths and respect the wildlife - it’s their Park”.
Conservation charity Friends of Richmond Park is delighted that popular presenter Clare Balding OBE, well known as a dog lover, agreed to present this seven-minute film in which she meets dog owners, bird experts and the Park’s Manager Simon Richards, and explains why signs and some fencing have been installed to alert Park visitors to breeding skylarks.
“We’re asking dog owners to keep their dogs on leads and visitors to keep to the main paths in relatively small parts of the Park to give the birds a chance to nest and safely raise their young”, explains Simon. The protection zones and signs will be in place until the end of July.
The Skylark film is freely available to view on YouTube and we ask all visitors to please watch the film and share with friends and family.
- Surveys by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and RSPB suggest that over the last 50 years, Skylark populations across the UK have declined by over 65%. They remain on the RSPB’s ‘Red List’ of birds of “highest conservation priority… needing urgent action”.”
- See: www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/skylark/threats/and app.bto.org/birdtrends/species.jsp?s=skyla