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Meadow bird ecology

Untill the seventies, The Netherlands were especially rich in meadow birds as a result of the flat, open landscapes with polders with extensive moist to wet grasslands. A significant part of the breeding populations of meadow birds - a specific bird community of grassland habitats - in Europe was found in The Netherlands. This picture has changed profoundly although still large breeding populations of Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Redshank and Oystercatcher are present next to several other species. Presently most populations are in heavy decline due to intensification of the agricultural management (including the lowering of water tables) and a higher predation pressure, the latter related to changes in landuse and landscape. Despite the widely implemented agri-environment schemes, the rapid decline of the meadow bird community in The Netherlands (more than 4% per year) raises serious concern about the viability of the remaining populations and the most effective approach for conservation.

A&W is involved in research and management of meadow birds in The Netherlands for more than 20 years, We perform indepth studies on the ecology of several species, such as Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher, and are often asked to evaluate management practices and plans. If you would be interested to more about our work and projects on meadow birds, please contact drs. Ernst Oosterveld or ing. Eddy Wymenga.