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Birds really do dig quarries

A NEW bird study has shown that quarries are havens for birds of prey. The RSPB carried out the survey at 70 CEMEX-owned quarries in the UK after this year’s breeding season, to find out exactly which birds live and breed in them.

Buzzards and kestrels flew into joint top spot, with both species found at more than a quarter of the sites surveyed (27%). Peregrine falcons were found at more than a fifth of the sites (21%) and 23 peregrine chicks fledged.

Almost 10% of the sites surveyed had barn owls and six breeding pairs produced five chicks. In addition, 7% of sites had sparrowhawks and tawny owls, with both breeding on two sites.

This is the first time that the RSPB has carried out an investigation into the birds found at quarries. Experts from the Society teamed up with CEMEX and asked all of their quarry managers to complete the survey asking about the birds of prey that they see at their sites.

Sam Tarrant, CEMEX biodiversity adviser, said: ‘Quarries are far from the bare wastelands many people imagine. They are actually home to some of the UK’s most exciting wildlife. The RSPB was keen to find out exactly what species live and breed successfully in quarries so they can help develop even more sites with wildlife in mind.’

The RSPB has a national partnership with CEMEX UK aimed at creating 1,000ha of new space for wildlife by 2020 and increasing awareness among employees.


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