Corncrake numbers increase in Donegal

There is some hope in the fight to save the corncrake from national extinction with the first increase in corncrake numbers since 2005 recorded last year.

According to a new Department of the Environment report, the numbers of corncrakes last year increased by five to 133.

According to today's Irish Times, the State spent €414,000 on conserving the corncrake last year as part of its obligations under the EU habitats directive.

One of the dangers the corncrake faces is from feral mink. The report reveals that 254 were killed in a departmental predator control programme last year.

According to the report, there has been a steady decline in Corncrake numbers between 2005 and 2009, decreasing by 41 in three core areas – Donegal, west Connacht and the Shannon Callows

However the prospects for the bird look best in Donegal, where there was a 35 per cent rise on the 2009 total of 67, bringing the number to 91.

The report finds the mainland population in Donegal “showed a significant decline, while numbers increased substantially on several of the islands to 64”.