It is estimated that 34 farmers from Donegal, Mayo and Galway will take part in a pilot scheme for the Life Atlantic Crex corncrake project this year.

The project will take place across eight corncrake catchments, which cover nine of the corncrake special protection areas and adjacent supporting farmland.

The pilot phase will help shape the final scheme, which will run for five years and has a budget of €5.9m.

A total of 77 farmers responded to the call earlier this year to take part in the pilot phase, with 34 taking part in the initial scoping exercise.

The Department of Housing, which oversees the scheme, has said that the scheme will begin at the end of June.

Key actions

There are a number of key actions which will be carried out in this phase of the project.

This will include a focus on the initial development of habitat assessment scorecards and knowledge exchange with landowners.

Once developed, the project will then move towards a results-based payment system on a wider scale, the Department said.

The rates of payment for the scheme are due to be developed this year too.


In Ireland, the corncrake is on the red list of birds of conservation concern due to the decline in numbers.

Last year, 145 calling males were recorded on the island of Ireland. The number is down on 2019 when 163 calling males were recorded.

However, the decrease in numbers may be attributed to COVID-19, as fieldworkers were not able to access the Donegal islands early in the season to take stock of numbers.

If you hear a corncrake on your land, you can report it here.