Study

Stubble height affects the use of stubble fields by farmland birds

  • Published source details Butler S.J., Bradbury R.B. & Whittingham M.J. (2005) Stubble height affects the use of stubble fields by farmland birds. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, 469-476.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Leave overwinter stubbles

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Leave overwinter stubbles

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Leave overwinter stubbles

    A replicated controlled study in winter 2003-2004 on 20 wheat fields from 12 lowland farms in central England (Butler et al. 2005) found that seed-eating songbirds and invertebrate-feeding birds were more abundant on stubble fields cut to 6 cm, whereas skylark Alauda arvensis and partridge Perdix perdix were more abundant on fields with uncut stubble, approximately 14 cm tall (fields were visited six times each for a total of 120 visits. Seed-eaters: 343 individuals were seen on approximately 25 visits to cut fields vs. 89 individuals on 15 visits to control fields; invertebrate-eaters: 623 birds on 17 visits vs. 34 on five visits; skylarks: 557 on 50 visits vs. 814 on 80 visits; partridges: five on two visits vs. 235 on 27 visits). Crows and pigeons showed no response to stubble cutting. Each field was split so that half was cut to approximately 6 cm tall, with the other half left as a control.

     

  2. Leave overwinter stubbles

    A replicated, controlled study in winter 2003-2004 on 20 wheat fields on 12 lowland farms in central England (Butler et al. 2005) found that seed-eating songbirds and invertebrate-feeding birds were more abundant on stubble fields cut to 6 cm, whereas Eurasian skylark Alauda arvensis and partridges (Phasianidae) were more abundant on fields with uncut stubble, approximately 14 cm tall (seed-eaters: 343 individuals seen on approximately 25 of 120 visits to cut fields vs 89 individuals on 15 visits to control fields, invertebrate-eaters: 623 birds on 17 visits vs 34 on five visits, skylark: 557 on 50 visits vs 814 on 80 visits, partridges: five on two visits vs 235 on 27 visits). Crows (Corvidae) and pigeons (Columbidae) showed no response to stubble cutting. Each field was split so that half was cut (late October 2003) to approximately 6 cm tall, with the other half left as a control.

     

Output references
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