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Map explanation

This map shows where changes occurred in the breeding season distribution of the species in Wiltshire between 1995-2000 and 2007-2012, as revealed by the fieldwork for Birds of Wiltshire (Wiltshire Ornithological Society 2007) and the shared fieldwork for Bird Atlas 2007-2011 (BTO 2013) and for Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2007-2012.

Gains and improvements

Status

Nos tetrads


Absent to present

34

4%


Present to breeding

77

8%


Absent to breeding

20

2%


No change

Status

Nos tetrads


Present in both

79

9%


Breeding in both

350

38%


Losses and declines

Status

Nos tetrads


Present to absent

51

6%


Breeding to present

206

23%


Breeding to absent

46

5%


Sky Larks breed in open country from northwest Africa and western Europe, across Eurasia to Kamchatka and Japan, and the Pribilof Islands of Alaska. They have been introduced in New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and western Canada. Only the most northerly populations are migratory.

            In Great Britain, for many centuries Sky Larks were trapped in great numbers for food. Despite this, at the end of the 19th century they were widespread and common breeders throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Agricultural intensification and other changes in practice, such as the move to autumn sowing of cereals, led to steady population decline throughout the 20th century – Bird Atlas 2007-2011 reported a 58% decline in population just between1970 and 2010, though this was not reflected in significant changes in distribution: summer distribution declined by only 1% between 1968-72 Breeding Atlas and Bird Atlas 2007-2011 while winter distribution actually increased by 8% between 1981-84 Winter Atlas and Bird Atlas 2007-2011.

            Birds of Wiltshire recorded Sky Larks present in 809 tetrads with breeding in 602 of them. WTA2 recorded them present in only 5% fewer tetrads, though there was a 26% reduction in the number of tetrads where breeding was recorded.

References

The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:

“1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976: The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser

“1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986: The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser

1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser

Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.

“Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland

WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.

"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.

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