The Yellow Wagtail would have been a familiar bird in riparian meadows and pastures 60 years ago. It is strongly associated with grazing cattle and still breeds in Oxfordshire but only in tiny numbers. What happened to this charismatic species and how can we get them back? We believe the Yellow Wagtail has the potential to respond strongly if we can “get management right”. However, the Yellow Wagtail Partnership is about more than just the Yellow Wagtail. British wetland meadows and pastures have declined by over 97% in the last half century and today, less than 3,000 ha of meadows remain. Many species that are supported by these habitats are also in severe decline, many of which provide vital ecosystem services.
Working with our farming partners, Earth Trust, Church Farm Partnership and Lower Farm we plan to reverse the declines of invertebrates, birds, and riparian grassland. The Yellow Wagtail Partnership is working to re-establish wetland meadows and pastures along the River Thames by identifying sustainable and financially viable management practices that will reverse the declines of the many species that rely on this habitat as well as supporting farming businesses and local communities.
Farmland represents 70% of land in England and if farmed sustainably could create huge benefits for wildlife. Inspiring other farmers to adopt more holistic farming practices is a key to the success of the Yellow Wagtail Partnership. We also want to inspire communities to support their farmers who are working to farm with nature in mind.
Project officer, Sophie Cunnington is also completing a PhD at the University of Reading to understand Yellow Wagtail breeding and foraging ecology in lowland England.
PhD research project: Understanding the role of livestock management on invertebrate communities of wet pastures, University of Reading, Self-funded, more info
We occasionally ask for volunteers to carry out small projects to help with the Yellow Wagtail Partnership, this can range from helping out with fieldwork and managing data or creating visual aids for our work. Subscribe to you monthly bulletin to be the first to hear about future opportunities.
Our partner, Earth Trust, regularly recruits volunteers. Whether you are out counting insects or sitting at a desk, volunteering your time (with the Earth Trust) will help them carry out the vital work they do for the Yellow Wagtail Partnership as well as their other projects.
Have an idea for a research project?
We are keen to hear from students and researchers about their research ideas and would be happy to discuss the possibility of using our site to support your research. Please get in touch to discuss what might be possible.
Record your Yellow Wagtail sightings
Help us learn more about Yellow Wagtails in Oxfordshire by reporting your sightings to TVERC
Help to look after our grasslands
- Stick to the path, we have ground nesting birds on the site and wandering into the fields may disturb them or lead to nest abandonment.
- Be respectful of the livestock, keep dogs on leads when there are calves in the fields.
- Remember to take yours and your dog’s rubbish home with you.
- Don’t have BBQs on the grasslands as you may cause a fire.
Support our farmers who are doing their bit for nature.
Like Emma, our grazier who owns the cattle on our site. You can find out more about her on her website, Emma's Ewesful Acres.