9th January 2012: Quarry sites are great places for birds of prey particularly buzzards and kestrels, a new RSPB study has shown. Teaming up with CEMEX UK, building materials supplier, the RSPB surveyed 70 of the company's quarry managers about the birds of prey seen on their sites.
Buzzards and kestrels remain on the top two 'spots' and are reported at over a third of sites. The RSPB and CEMEX are delighted to be helping kestrels as they are suffering a widespread decline throughout the UK. Since 1995 their numbers have dropped by 28%.*
Quarries, while operational, offer great alternatives to the traditional cliff-face homes for many birds of prey. Once exhausted of minerals and restored, the quarry site can provide a diversity of habitats to encourage and enhance flora, fauna and wildlife, thus minimizing the impact of the quarrying operations on the environment and increasing the biodiversity of the area.
Alan Smith, a CEMEX quarry manager says "I have been working for CEMEX for the past 27 years. I am still excited to see the different species that visit or are residential on our quarry. Over the years we have thought about our method of working and restored areas to accommodate some species particularly sand martins and little ringed plovers.
"I have seen a large increase in the common buzzard and summer visitors include hobby which like to hunt the sand martins. We also had a visit from two red kites this year, which was great."
Other findings of the survey showed that Peregrine falcons are breeding on several quarry sites again this year, with at least 14 chicks fledging successfully. Peregrines are generally doing well in the UK but this hasn't always been the case.
During the 1960s peregrine numbers fell to an all time low with 30 - 50 breeding territories, as a result of widespread use of pesticides. Since the withdrawal of some of the most potent pesticides numbers have risen in the UK to around 1400 pairs.**
For the first time, marsh harriers were reported on quarries. At least two chicks fledged successfully on one of the nesting sites. Marsh harriers have also made a great comeback since the 1970s.
The CEMEX/RSPB partnership is a great example of industry and conservation working together to benefit wildlife. RSPB's CEMEX Biodiversity Advisor, Dr Sam Tarrant comments "Against a backdrop of cuts in public expenditure, initiatives like this become all the more important. Bringing together the expertise of CEMEX UK and the RSPB means that we have a team which deliver real biodiversity benefits and create special areas that local communities can enjoy."
Notes to editors:
*Kestrel numbers have declined by 28% between 1995 and 2009 according
to the Breeding Birds survey carried out by the RSPB, the BTO and JNCC
**Latest peregrine numbers from 2002 show a UK population of 1,402 pairs with just over 500 in England
- For further information contact Elizabeth Young t. 01932 583214 e. Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org or Abbi Jinks, RSPB Media Officer t. 01767 693594. Photographs of birds of prey are available through Abbi
- CEMEX UK and the RSPB have launched a biodiversity strategy for CEMEX's operations in the UK to enrich nature. With the support of the RSPB CEMEX has committed to challenging targets covering its operations including the creation and maintenance of 1,000 hectares of priority habitats by 2020. This is equivalent to approximately 100 hectares per annum and represents a major investment in protecting and promoting nature and wildlife for future generations to enjoy.
- CEMEX is a global building solutions company and leading supplier of cement, ready-mixed concrete and aggregates. In the UK, CEMEX also produces asphalt, and has a significant share of the concrete-block paving, and concrete block sectors. Additionally, the company is the leading supplier of concrete sleepers to the rail industry and a supplier of PFA cement additives. CEMEX has a national supply network in the UK with over 360 locations, to ensure that quality building materials are available to customers locally. For more information, see www.CEMEX.co.uk, www.CEMEX.com