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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effect of set-aside management regime on winter usage by farmland birds in Devon, England

Published source details

Buckingham D.L, Evans A.D., Morris A.J., Orsman C.J. & Yaxley R. (1999) Use of set-aside land in winter by declining farmland bird species in the UK. Bird Study, 46, 157-169


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland Bird Conservation

A randomised and replicated site comparison in the winters of 1992-1993 and 1993-1994 on 40 farmland sites in Devon and East Anglia, UK (Buckingham et al. 1999) found that only one taxonomic group (finches, sparrows and buntings, seven species) showed a significant preference for set-aside habitats in both years, preferentially using sown set-aside less than one year old. Conversely, thrushes (four species) and hedge-dwelling species (European robin Erithacus rubecula, wren Troglodytes troglodytes and dunnock Prunella modularis) avoided regenerating set-aside less than one year old in Devon. At a species level, a preference for set-aside was seen in both winters by one species in Devon (cirl buntings Emberiza cirlus selecting sown set-aside more than one year-old) and two species (plus one introduced species not considered here) in East Anglia (grey partridge preferred older sown set-aside and yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella selected one year-old sown cover). A further 13 species in both East Anglia and Devon preferentially selected a set-aside habitat in one winter. Blackbirds Turdus merula and five other species avoided some set-aside in at least one year in Devon; no native species did so in East Anglia. The same 40 plots (50-100 ha) were surveyed each winter, although the amount of set-aside they contained varied due to rotation schemes.

Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland Farmland Conservation

A randomized, replicated site comparison in the winters of 1992-1993 and 1993-1994 on 40 farmland sites in Devon and East Anglia, England (Buckingham et al. 1999) found that only one taxonomic group (finches, sparrows and buntings, seven species) showed a significant selection of set-aside habitats in both years, preferentially using sown set-aside less than one year old. Conversely, thrushes (four species) and hedge-dwelling species (European robin Erithacus rubecula, wren Troglodytes troglodytes and dunnock Prunella modularis) avoided regenerating set-aside less than one year old in Devon. At a species-level, a preference for set-aside was seen in both winters by one species in Devon (cirl bunting Emberiza cirlus selected sown set-aside more than one year-old) and two species (plus one introduced species not considered here) in East Anglia (grey partridge Perdix perdix preferred older sown set-aside and yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella selected one year-old sown cover). A further 13 species in both East Anglia and Devon preferentially selected set-aside in one winter. Blackbird Turdus merula and five other species avoided some set-aside in at least one year in Devon, no native species did so in East Anglia. The same 40 plots (50-100 ha) were surveyed each winter, although the amount of set-aside they contained varied due to rotation schemes.