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Animals

Last-ditch effort under way to stop corncrake extinction in Britain

Steady decline of migratory bird concerns conservationists who highlight importance of wildlife-friendly farming

The piercing “crex crex” call of the male corncrake once kept country people awake at night. But its last breeding strongholds are falling silent as this elusive migratory bird teeters on the brink of extinction in Britain.

Despite a successful rescue effort that led to its numbers rallying on the islands of north-west Scotland, rising to 1,289 calling males in 2014, the corncrake’s population has since fallen by more than 30%, to just 850 calling birds in Scotland in 2021.

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