This little critter is the Cirl Bunting – a passerine (perching) songbird that’s incredibly rare in the UK!
Cirl Buntings don’t migrate and prefer warm climates like southern Europe and parts of North Africa. Because of this, they’re very seldom seen on our shores – in the UK, they’re virtually exclusive to an area of protected habitat around Devonshire.
According to the RSPB’s Action for Birds project, UK numbers of Cirl Buntings fell as low as 118 breeding pairs in 1989. Fortunately, conservation efforts have seen the population steadily increase since – reaching around 862 pairs in 2014. That’s an increase of 630% over 25 years!
In December 2017, Greenbelt took on management of The Buntings development in Devon – which is home to the rare birds it shares a name with.
As part of our agreed maintenance specification for this development, Greenbelt adheres to an Ecological Management Plan designed to protect not just the birds and their habitat – but also the capacity for local residents to view and enjoy this wildlife.
Did you know: the Cirl Bunting was discovered in 1802 by celebrated English naturalist George Montagu (a Devon local) in his pioneering work, 'Ornithological Dictionary'.
This was the first book to accurately define the status of Britain’s avian wildlife, discrediting many popular misconceptions and mis-identifications regarding birds.
One visitor who’s far less elusive is our Customer Liaison Officer, Nick Upton.
Nick recently attended a meeting with residents at The Buntings, as part of Greenbelt’s program of guided site visits.
“The development is in a fantastic location in Dawlish, which is on the Devon coast,” said Nick.
“I held the introductory meeting in January, but residents got in touch to ask if we could meet up again.
“I recently attended a ‘walkabout’ with some members of the residents’ association, along with the maintenance contractors, Tony Benger Landscaping. It was very constructive, and a good chance to catch up.
“The development is also very interesting, as it is frequented by a rare bird called the Cirl Bunting, which is related to the Yellow Jackhammer. Greenbelt follows a management plan for their area of habitat.”
If you'd like to read more about Greenbelt - from our Customer Liaison system to our wildlife-protecting sustainable management plans - you can catch up with news and events by visiting the Green Room!