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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Some farmland birds show positive responses to agri-environment schemes for managing field margins and boundaries

Published source details

Davey C.M., Vickery J.A., Boatman N.D., Chamberlain D.E. & Siriwardena G.M. (2010) Entry Level Stewardship may enhance bird numbers in boundary habitats. Bird Study, 57, 415-420


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

Manage hedges to benefit birds Bird Conservation

A replicated study in February 2008 across 97, 1 km2 plots in East Anglia, England (Davey et al. 2010), found that four farmland birds showed strong positive responses to field boundaries (hedges and ditches) managed under agri-environment schemes. These were blue tits Parus caeruleus (also called Cyanistes caeruleus), dunnock Prunella modularis, common whitethroat Sylvia communis and yellowhammer. A further five (Eurasian blackbird Turdus merula, song thrush T. philomelos, Eurasian bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula, long-tailed tit Aegithalos caudatus and winter wren Troglodytes troglodytes) showed weak positive responses and Eurasian reed bunting Acrocephalus scirpaceus showed a weak negative response. The boundaries were classed as either hedges, ditches or hedges and ditches and most were managed under the Entry Level Stewardship scheme.

Manage ditches to benefit wildlife Farmland Conservation

A replicated study in February 2008 across 97, 1 km2 plots in East Anglia, England (Davey et al. 2010c) (part of the same study as (Davey et al. 2010a, Davey et al. 2010b)) found that four farmland birds showed strong positive responses to field boundaries (hedges and ditches) managed under agri-environment schemes. These species were blue tit Parus (Cyanistes) caeruleus, dunnock Prunella modularis, common whitethroat Sylvia communis and yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella. Six other species showed weak or negative responses: Eurasian blackbird Turdus merula, song thrush T. philomelos, Eurasian bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula, long-tailed tit Aegithalos caudatus, winter wren Troglodytes troglodytes, and Eurasian reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclus. The boundaries were classed as either hedges, ditches or hedges and ditches and most were managed under the Entry Level Stewardship scheme.

 

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields for birds Bird Conservation

A replicated study in February 2008 across 97 1 km2 plots in East Anglia, England (Davey et al. 2010), found that 19 of 24 farmland bird species responded positively to field margins managed under agri-environment schemes, but only yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella and possibly blackcaps Sylvia altricapilla showed strong responses. Great tits Parus major and common starlings Sturnus vulgaris showed weak positive responses. Field margins were categorised as grassy/weedy, bare/fallow or wild-bird cover (although very few fields had wild bird cover) and most were managed under the Entry Level Stewardship scheme. This study also investigated the effects of field boundary management; see ‘Manage hedges to benefit wildlife’.

 

Manage hedgerows to benefit wildlife (includes no spray, gap-filling and laying) Farmland Conservation

A replicated study in February 2008 across 97, 1 km2 plots in East Anglia, England (Davey et al. 2010c) (part of the same study as (Davey, Vickery, Boatman, Chamberlain, Parry & Siriwardena 2010)) found that four farmland bird species showed strong positive responses to field boundaries managed under agri-environment schemes. These were blue tit Parus (Cyanistes) caeruleus, dunnock Prunella modularis, common whitethroat Sylvia communis and yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella. A further five (Eurasian blackbird Turdus merula, song thrush T. philomelos, Eurasian bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula, long-tailed tits Aegithalos caudatus and winter wren Troglodytes troglodytes) showed weak positive responses and Eurasian reed buntings Emberiza schoeniclus showed a weak negative response. The boundaries were classed as either hedges, ditches or hedges and ditches and most were managed under the Entry Level Stewardship scheme.

 

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

A replicated study in February 2008 in East Anglia, England, UK (Davey et al. 2010) found that field margins managed under agri-environment schemes had a positive influence on 19 out of 24 farmland bird species. However, only yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella and possibly blackcap Sylvia altricapilla showed a strong positive response to agri-environment scheme margins affecting species densities. Great tit Parus major and common starling Sturnus vulgaris showed weak positive responses. Field margins were categorized as grassy/weedy, bare/fallow or wild-bird cover (although very few fields had wild bird cover) and most were managed under the Entry Level Stewardship scheme. Ninety-seven 1 km2 plots were included in the study. All field boundaries within each square were walked and all birds present mapped. Squares were visited twice; once in April to mid-May, and once in mid-May to June.