Farm subsidy changes could reduce cattle and affect Yorkshire birdlife - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Martin Baul, Harrogate.

IT is reported time after time that swallows are in decline. However, in the area between the villages of Markington, Sawley and Fountains, we have large numbers every year.

It is hard to count but my best guess is 30 to 50 arrive each spring – they have even endured snow and frost. They have generally two or three nests per pair, ending up with four to six young in each.

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How to take the declining sparrow under your wing
Housemartins and swalloes in North Yorkshire. Picture: James Hardisty.

This year we still have the few from the third nests well into October. We have house martins joining them to follow cows for flies. there have been some swifts in the local area also.

If government schemes replacing the single farm payment are as draconian as they appear, they will have a detrimental effect on us with the clean water directive badly affecting what we have done for many many years, and therefore reducing the numbers of cattle and other farmed animals.

This, in turn, reduces flies and therefore food for birds that the environment schemes are supposed to help. Another food source for song birds is cattle feed.

Yorkshire farm cattle. Picture: James Hardisty