ljubljansko barje

Establishing long-term conservation of the corn crake (Crex crex) In Slovenia

Corn Crake is a migratory grassland bird, breeding in the greater part of Europe and overwintering in Africa. In the second part of the 20th century, a great decrease in its numbers was recorded almost in its entire range, particularly in the western part of Europe. As this bird nests fairly late amongst grassland vegetation, one of the main reasons for its exceptional decline in Europe can be attributed largely to the increasingly intensive farming, especially as far as meadows are concerned. As the meadows inhabited by Corn Crake are in most cases mown already in the first half of the breeding season, the main reason for the decline in its population is of course the high mortality rate of the young owing to the early and rapid mowing.

On the basis of regularly carried out surveys, between 400 and 600 territorial males live in Slovenia (with the counting possible only on the grounds of the typical calling by males). The most important Corn Crake's population in Slovenia inhabits the Barje (170 males in 2004) where, however, its numbers are decreasing. The Corn Crake has been inscribed on the Red List of highly endangered breeders in Slovenia, whose survival in our country is not probable if the threat factors persist. As a species of global conservation concern, the Corn Crake has also been protected with the EU's nature-conservancy directives.

In order to stop the Corn Crake's population decrease in Slovenia, the Bird Watching and Bird Study Association of Slovenia has embarked on the project entitled >Establishing long-term conservation of the Corn Crake in Slovenia<, co-financed by the state, local communities and the European Commission within the framework of the LIFE Nature programme. The activities to restore and preserve the favourable habitats for this bird are taking place at the Barje, in the area of Lake Cerknica, and in the Nanoščica valley.

For more about the project's objectives and activities in the above mentioned areas, see: www.life-kosec.org and www.ptice.org.