Action

Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Provide short grass for waders

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    41%
  • Certainty
    32%
  • Harms
    0%

Source countries

Key messages

A replicated UK study found that common starlings and northern lapwings spent more time foraging on short swards, compared to longer grass, and that starlings captured more prey in short grass.

 

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated study from January-May in 2002 that observed 15 northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus chicks on the Isle of Islay, UK, and 20 common starlings Sturnus vulgaris in Oxfordshire, UK (Devereux et al. 2004) found that both species experienced significantly greater foraging success in shorter grass swards. For lapwing chicks, foraging rate declined as sward height increased. In short swards, starlings spent 30% more time actively foraging and captured 33% more prey, although intake rate (captures per second of active foraging) did not differ between swards. Invertebrate abundance did not differ between long and short swards. Fertiliser application and water level was manipulated to provide a range of sward heights on the lapwing site. Starlings were observed in enclosures placed within intensively managed permanent pasture that was mown to either 3 cm (short sward) or 13 cm (tall sward).

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

 

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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