A bird of the open countryside with a distinctive song, the Skylark is widely distributed across Cumbria. Breeding pairs in Cumbria 28,000.
Habitat – open grassland, uplands, heath, coastal margins, cultivated pastureland, ungrazed grassland and large arable fields.
Appearance – 18–19 cm. (size of a large sparrow), streaky brown colouring with a crest on its head.
Voice –main call a loud “chirrup”, its song a pleasant ”liquid warble” usually in flight, may also be from a perch or on the ground..
Food – plant and animal material, includes invertebrates such as bugs, beetles, moths, spiders, slugs snails, grain seeds and leaves of nettles and docks.
Population changes / conservation – decline in numbers of 75% since the mid 1970s, attributed to change to autumn sowing of grain crops, consequent loss of stubble for foraging and open ground in spring for nesting and rearing young. Usage of chemicals and early use of pasture land for silage may also adversely affect population. Breeding areas could benefit from environmental schemes which encourage spring sowing.