MORE than 230 fields across the South Pennines have now been cultivated to increase the chances of a songbird’s survival.
Four years of the Twite Recovery Project, marshalled by the RSPB, has seen 330 hectares turned into foraging habitat for the tiny creature, also known as the Pennine finch.
The threatened twite is known to have been a frequent visitor to moorland around Cliviger, Worsthorne and Hurstwood.
Project officer Kerry Gowthorpe has been working with landowners to reseed fields with common sorrel and autumn hawkbit, and develop new pastures.
The knock-on effects are also said to have benefitted other species, including brown hares, chimney sweeper moths, lapwings and curlews.
Later this year Kerry and the RSPB will work with Natural England on a major twite survey, to see how effective their work has been since 2010.
Fifty-three farms are currently signed up with the recovery project. Kerry is hoping their ongoing efforts will balance out the toll taken on the songbird’s population by the last harsh winter.
She said: “This survey will allow us to measure population change since the first national survey in 1999 and prioritise conservation action.”