Skylarks (Alauda arvensis) count amongst some of the most endangered bird species in Germany. The birds, which grow up to 19 cm, can be identified by their long tail, dark-striped, beige to red-brown colour and pale belly. Skylarks nest on the ground, hiding their nests in hollows as they dig in the grass.
For this reason, protective zones for skylarks are established between the runways from March/April until August. Visitors should not access the meadows during this period and dogs should be leashed to avoid disturbing breeding birds.
Monitoring of avifauna on the Tempelhofer Feld
In 2005 the avifauna on the site, which was then still used as an as airport, was almost completely recorded for the first time. Before the former airfield opened as a park in May 2010, a plan was drawn up to protect the species recorded in 2005 and in particular to conserve its skylark population:
- The eastern half of the site to the south of the southern runway was fenced to prevent access.
- The space between the former runways was provided with a series of bollards at a distance of 15 metres to runways. Here signs positioned at regular intervals inform visitors that access is prohibited from April to the end of July. Security guards monitor the area and enforce this prohibition where necessary.
- All other meadow areas are open without any restrictions on access.
- The whole survey area can only be entered through 9 entrances open from 6 am until 10:30 pm, so the survey area is largely free of human presence at night and early in the morning.
Since the 300-hectare Tempelhofer Feld opened, its breeding bird population has been qualitatively and quantitatively surveyed several times using the territory mapping method.
Among the issues investigated in the survey were the following:
- What changes have occurred to avifauna since the field opened?
- How does the fact that the site is permanently open affect the breeding birds?
- Are the various protective zones appropriate and adequate to ensure the protection of rare and endangered species?
- How and where can better protection be provided?
- Which conservation measures are required to maintain the existing range of species in future?
- Are further surveys required?