Skylarks are singing high over West Common and are getting ready to nest in the rough grass. There is an ample food supply on the common, so the number of birds that successfully raise young depends largely on the level of disturbance. Horses and people can stumble onto nests, but potential predators influence the decision on where, or whether, to try to breed.
Skylarks will avoid the mown parts of the common, the areas where the grass is kept short by grazing and the main paths. Whether or not they will attempt to breed elsewhere will depend on dogs (and cats and foxes). Areas furthest from gates into the common are ‘safest’ but young birds have been seen between the main gate on Long Leys Road and the pond.
How Can The West Common Community Help?
Skylark numbers are going down nationally, mainly as a result of modern farming practices. Anyone spending time on West Common between March and August can help them raise new generations by keeping to paths and areas of short grass and keeping dogs away from rough grass. If you were a skylark, would you be happy to nest where cats or dogs would be likely to sniff out your babies?
If anyone has a photograph of a West Common Skylark then we would be delighted to hear from you and add the photo to the long-leys.org website. Just let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does a Skylark look like
The first video below is from the BTO and is a guide to identifying Skylark and Woodlark. The second was recorded at Godrevy, Cornwall.
What Does A Skylark Sound Like?
Want to Know More?
Read more about Skylarks at wikipedia.