Drivers of population change in common farmland birds in Germany

Study on farmland bird populations in Germany was published in Bird Conservation International.  The authors explored potential causes for bird population changes based on data from standardised
German breeding bird monitoring schemes.

Malte Busch, Jakob Katzenberger, Sven Trautmann, Bettina Gerlach, Reiner Dröschmeister and Christoph Sudfeldt: Drivers of population change in common farmland birds in Germany. Bird Conservation International (2020), page 1 of 20. © BirdLife International, 2020

Population trends were related to covariates describing
the changes in the agricultural landscape in Germany, weather conditions during the breeding season and for some migratory species, conditions at stopover and wintering sites.

Linear mixed-effect models were used to analyse effect strength at the species level and conclusions are drawn for the overall group of farmland bird species. The area of grassland and fallow land was shown to have the strongest positive effects and the area of maize and rapeseed the strongest negative effects on farmland bird population trends. The results obtained also indicate that despite the consistent influence of weather conditions during the breeding season, land-use changes had a stronger impact on bird populations than the weather. Conditions at Sahel wintering sites did not show a
consistent effect on population trends.

The study quantitatively underpins and ranks key factors shaping farmland bird populations in Germany.