Also known as ‘peewits’ or ‘peesies’, or by their Doric name ‘teuchats’, lapwings – with their exotic black and white coat and beautiful crest – are possibly the most distinctive farmland birds to be found at Haddo. They have a rounded wing shape and a recognisable display call.
Changes in land management over the decades have had dramatic effects on the availability of nesting habitats for lapwings. The increase in land dedicated to the cultivation of winter cereals and oilseed rape is responsible to an extent, as is the use of larger machinery which makes it increasingly difficult for farm workers to identify and move the birds’ well-camouflaged nests. Nests that are identified are marked out by canes and protected from farming activity.
Lapwings’ favoured habitat is pasture or wet grassland, preferably with good all-round visibility so that they can be vigilant against predators. The establishment of grass margins helps provide the birds with cover and also a reliable source of invertebrate food stuffs needed by young birds. The birds breed mainly on farmland among spring-sown crops adjacent to grass margins.
Sightings of five nests in an area of 35 acres in 2008 – all of which were home to healthy hatched chicks – give hope to the preservation of these beautiful birds and their habitats on the Estate.
Please contact the Farm Manager for any further advice on how to promote and protect lapwings and their habitats.