Study

Suitability of patches and in-field strips for sky larks Alauda arvensis in a small-parcelled mixed farming area

  • Published source details Fischer J., Jenny M. & Jenni L. (2009) Suitability of patches and in-field strips for sky larks Alauda arvensis in a small-parcelled mixed farming area. Bird Study, 56, 34-42.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips for birds

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Create skylark plots for bird conservation

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Create skylark plots

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips for birds

    A replicated, controlled study from March-July in 2006 in winter wheat fields in mixed farming lands near Berne, Switzerland (Fischer et al. 2009), found that Eurasian skylarks Alauda arvensis with territories that included undrilled patches were significantly less likely to abandon their territory than birds without patches, and more likely to use the undrilled patches as nesting and foraging sites than expected by chance. The strips were sown with six annual weed species but otherwise resembled skylark plots and this study is discussed in detail in ‘Create skylark plots’.

     

  2. Create skylark plots for bird conservation

    A replicated, controlled study near Berne, Switzerland (Fischer et al. 2009) found that skylarks Alauda arvensis with territories that included undrilled patches were significantly less likely to abandon their territory than birds without patches, and more likely to use the undrilled patches as nesting and foraging sites than expected by chance. The study was from March-July in 2006 in 21 experimental sites and 16 control sites of winter wheat fields in mixed farming lands From June to July, the percentage of control fields in skylark territories decreased from 60% to 38%, whilst 55% of fields with undrilled patches remained in territories. Nest productivity was identical between control and fields with undrilled patches (1.4 chicks/territory) and there was no difference in chick body mass or tarsus length. Undrilled patches were composed of either 4 patches/ha (each 3 ? 12 m, in seven fields) or a single strip (2.5 ? 80 m, in 14 fields) sown with a mixture of six annual weed species. This study is also discussed in ‘Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips’.

     

  3. Create skylark plots

    A replicated, controlled study from March-July 2006 in mixed farmland near Berne, Switzerland (Fischer et al. 2009) found that Eurasian skylarks Alauda arvensis with territories that included undrilled patches were significantly less likely to abandon their territory than birds without patches, and more likely to use the undrilled patches as nesting and foraging sites. Use of winter wheat fields by skylarks changed through the breeding season; from June to July, the percentage of control fields (without undrilled plots) in skylark territories decreased from 60% to 38%, whilst the percentage of undrilled patches in skylark territories remained approximately 55% from May to July. Nest productivity was identical between control areas and fields with undrilled patches (1.4 chicks/territory) and there was no difference in chick body mass or tarsus length. Undrilled patches were composed of either four 3 x 12 m patches/ha (in seven fields) or a single strip 2.5 ? 80 m (in 14 fields).   In autumn 2005 undrilled patches were sown with six annual weed species including common corncockle Agrostemma githago in winter wheat fields. Skylark territories were surveyed over one breeding season (2006) in 21 experimental sites and 16 control wheat fields.

  4. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

    A replicated, controlled study from March-July 2006 in mixed farmland near Bern, Switzerland (Fischer et al. 2009) found that Eurasian skylarks Alauda arvensis with territories that included undrilled patches sown with six annual weed species, were significantly less likely to abandon the territory and more likely to use undrilled patches as nesting and foraging sites. Nests were significantly more likely to be built within or close to undrilled patches (60% of skylark nests were within 5 m of an undrilled patch). Skylarks preferentially foraged in undrilled patches over all other crop types; undrilled patches covered 0.17–0.63% of the foraging area but were accessed on 12.6% of observed foraging flights. Plant cover ranged from 35 to 50%, and plant height ranged from 5 to 80 cm in the plots. Undrilled patches were composed of either four 3 x 12 m patches/ha (in seven fields) or a single strip 2.5 x 80 m (in 14 fields). In autumn 2005 undrilled patches were sown with six annual weed species including common corncockle Agrostemma githago in winter wheat fields. Skylark territories were surveyed over one breeding season (2006) in 21 experimental sites and 16 control wheat fields.

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