Our Distillery Friend, The Corncrake

Our Distillery Friend, The Corncrake
As we look to the future, a key member that will join our family distillery is the incredible Corncrake bird, together, we want to both introduce you to this astonishing bird and also raise awareness of this bird.

Corncrake

Our family distillery knows exactly how it feels to return home to start a family and that is why we support the corncrake, an endangered bird species that also returns to Barra every summer to nest and start their own families. With our planned whisky/gin distillery & visitors centre in mind, this will be sensitive to this unique bird, a place that will be a centre to learn about these incredible species.

Corncrake do not hold a specific territory as such, though the singing males do space themselves out. Once the male has attracted a female and mated, he will move some distance away and continue to sing to attract another mate. The female will incubate and rear the young by herself. The nest is built on the ground in concealing vegetation, close to the singing post of the male. It is a shallow cup lined with dead leaves of nearby vegetation. Stems are often pulled over to form a loose canopy.

Barra Distillers

A clutch of 8-12 grey-green blotchy eggs is laid one a day from early May onwards. If the eggs are lost, she will lay a replacement clutch. Incubation begins with the last egg and lasts 16-19 days. The brood hatches synchronously.
When the young are only a couple of days old, they leave the nest and start to follow their mother. The female feeds the chicks until they are independent. Parent-young bond is initially strong, but often of short duration. Many broods become independent of their mother early, at 10-15 days, due to second nesting attempts. After this the chicks live independently, though the young are fully fledged only at 34-38 days after hatching. The young from second clutches remain with their mother for a few days longer than first brood chicks.

Barra Distillers

Corncrakes are threatened Europe-wide due to major declines through much of its range. Research on corncrake population declines suggested that effective conservation measures should include increasing the area of suitable tall vegetation, ensuring that sufficient tall vegetation is present in spring and autumn as well as in mid-summer, delaying the date of mowing and using mowing methods that allow flightless chicks to escape.
Simulation models of corncrake breeding show that delaying the date of mowing can increase breeding success markedly and mowing from the inside of the field outwards (the reverse of the usual practice), or using another method that allows chicks to escape, increases the proportion of chicks that survive mowing. These methods are termed Corncrake Friendly Mowing (CFM).

Barra Distillers

Up to about 60 per cent of chicks are killed by usual mowing practices because they are reluctant to escape across parts of the field that are already cut. Chicks may be at risk from mowing several times before they can fly as successive fields are mowed. Alternative mowing methods can reduce this risk substantially.
It's our responsibility to enable the corncrake to breed and nest successfully. And rest assured, we are taking every measure possible to ensure this is portrayed throughout our distillery build and future function.

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