Many bird species connected to farmland habitats have suffered from severe population declines during the last 40 years. Studies have so far mainly focused on impacts on birds during breeding and/or over-wintering season, and generally unified pointed out ‘agricultural intensification’ as the rascal. Apart from a number of studies on larger waterfowl like geese, studies on possible effects of today’s agricultural methods on birds during migration are scarce. The aim of this project is to fill this gap by investigating the interplay between birds and agriculture during the migratory season. In a general approach, we study different farming and landscape types to figure out how agricultural methods, crop types or farmland habitats affect different species. Additionally, we use the Golden Plover (see picture below) as an example species for more specific studies on a bird choosing intensive farmland as stop-over site during migration. By the means of monitoring, observations, ringing data and radio-telemetry, we examine this species’ whereabouts and preferences in the agricultural landscape and try to construct time- and energy budgets.
All in all, we try to understand the mechanisms that act on farmland birds during migration and lay behind the negative population trends of many species with the aim of identifying methods that potentially could reverse these trends.