Meadow Birds Action Plan

GRN Consultancy Thomas Zeitler Actieplan Weidevogels

Thomas Zeitler, researcher GRN Consultancy

Since the introduction of ANLb in 2016, all kinds of measures have been implemented for the benefit of the Meadow Birds within the Wvk areas. One of the most common measures is to reduce wood storage within and around the Wvk areas. The primary function of this is to decrease the hiding possibilities of predators. In addition to creating ponds, investments are also being made in drones for inventorying meadow birds and nests.

Measures implemented and management in the Battle

In the past five years, ditches, pools, and wetlands have been constructed in De Slaag on various plots. According to Wilhelm Bos, there are a total of 80 ditch-plas-waters throughout collective Eemland, and this number was not expected to be any higher. This is because the number of farmers participating in ANLb and other forms of meadow bird management has not grown this year. However, he was surprised that ten new ditch-puddles will be realized for next year. This will bring the total number of ditch-plas-drases to 90 in 2022. In addition to the construction of reppelplas-drases, wood storage and trees have been removed at various places in the area to make the landscape more open. Investments have also been made in fencing against foxes and foxes are also shot. Drones have also been purchased within the collective through the POP3 and other subsidies to make an inventory of meadow birds and nests. These drones work with infrared cameras, but according to Wilhelm Bos this can only be used in the morning, because then there are clear differences between the temperatures of the eggs and those of the environment. In addition, 1.2 million has been invested in meadow bird biotope within Eemland. GRN Consultancy itself is curious about these developments in drones and inventory and sees possibilities for automating this process.

Wilhelm Bos also indicated in his stories about the ditch-plas-drases during the interview that in practice the agreed or planned size of these pond-drases do not always correspond to reality. “For this, someone has to walk around this swamp with a GPS to calculate the area.” Wilhelm told that this should also be possible with a drone. There are also possibilities for automation here. The recommendation will further discuss the possibilities of automatic recognition of birds and nests and the calculation of the size of wetlands. In addition, grazing is taking place in various places to create more variation in the agricultural landscape. Investments are also made in drones for the inventory of meadow birds, especially for the nests, and new techniques and innovations are being examined to support meadow bird management. All these elements are used to strengthen the (breeding) populations of the meadow birds.

Population overview three core areas

In order to be able to judge whether, where and how possible measures and/or changes in policy can be applied within the Wvk areas, it is necessary to create an overview of the current populations of meadow birds within these areas. To do this, data has been requested from the province of Utrecht. In 2016, 2019 and 2021, meadow bird monitoring was performed by SOVON for the populations of meadow birds. The method used for this is the Breeding Bird Monitoring Project (BMP).

Black-tailed godwit

With the Black-tailed Godwit, numbers of territories have usually grown over the years. The data from 2016, 2019 and 2021 were looked at. Meadow bird inventories of Wvk areas are carried out every three years. The 2021 measurement is an exception to this. This is because a new policy will be written in 2022 with regard to meadow birds, which means that the measurement of 2022 has been brought forward one year.


In addition to the Black-tailed Godwit, the numbers of the Oystercatcher were also examined. In recent years, this species has increasingly moved into urban areas due to agricultural intensification. This species is therefore increasingly seen in urban areas, especially on furniture boulevards, business parks and roofs of flats with flat roofs covered with gravel. However, originally the Oystercatcher is also a meadow bird species. The number of territories within three Wvk areas was also examined for this species.


Another typical meadow bird is the Redshank. It is a speies that thrives particularly well in moist, herbaceous and late mowed landscapes. Ditches and wetlands are also ideal for this species. According to SOVON, the numbers of this species, like many other meadow birds as a breeding bird, are decreasing. In addition, the Redshank is also on the Dutch red list, just like the black-tailed godwit.


Finally, we look at the territory numbers of the Kietvit. Compared to the other three meadow birds, the lapwing is a species with a much higher number of breeding pairs in the Netherlands (110,000-160,000 in 2013-2015). For comparison: Redshank, 17,000-20,000, Black-tailed Godwit, 31,000-38,000 and the Oystercatcher, 35,000-43,000 between 2013 and 2015. Despite the relatively high numbers, the number of breeding pairs in the Netherlands is also declining by less than five percent.

Reward System

Finally, we briefly look back at sustainability. What was particularly striking during the conversations with the farmers and the coordinators of the collectives is that people talk about meadow birds with great enthusiasm. Talks that had been set at half an hour or an hour in advance ended in the many stories about the meadow birds. In addition, there are plenty of farmers who even make a loss on meadow bird management, but continue anyway. A new system for more flexible regulation and a reward system for meadow bird management could also further contribute to a sustainable meadow bird population, in which the balance between people, planet and profit would come into its own.