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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The provision of winter bird food by the English Environmental Stewardship scheme

Published source details

Field R.H., Morris A.J., Grice P.V. & Cooke A. (2010) The provision of winter bird food by the English Environmental Stewardship scheme. Ibis, 153, 14-26


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

Leave overwinter stubbles Bird Conservation

A replicated site comparison study of 75 fields in East Anglia and the West Midlands (Field et al. 2010) found no difference in the number of seed-eating birds or Eurasian skylarks Alauda arvensis on Environmental Stewardship stubbles and non-Environmental Stewardship stubbles. There was also no significant difference in the number of seed-eating birds on stubbles managed under the Higher Level Stewardship (18.0 birds/ha) than in fields managed under the  Entry Level Stewardship (8.5 birds/ha). Skylarks, however, were found to be more numerous on Higher Level Stewardship fields (9.3 birds/ha) than ELS fields (1.2 birds/ha). Entry Level Stewardship stubbles prohibited post-harvest herbicide and cultivation until mid-February; Higher Level Stewardship stubbles had the basic Entry Level Stewardship requirements plus reduced herbicide use. Non-ES stubbles were rotational stubbles without restrictions on herbicide or cultivation practices. Seed-eating birds were surveyed on two visits to each site between 1 November 2007 and 29 February 2008.

 

Leave overwinter stubbles Farmland Conservation

A replicated site comparison study between November 2007 and February 2008 of 75 fields in East Anglia and the West Midlands, England (Field et al. 2010a) (same study as (Field et al. 2010b)) found no differences in the number of seed-eating birds or Eurasian skylark Alauda arvensis on Environmental Stewardship stubbles and non-Environmental Stewardship stubbles. There was also no significant difference in the number of seed-eating birds on stubbles managed under Higher Level Stewardship of the Environmental Stewardship scheme (18 birds/ha) than in fields managed under Entry Level Stewardship (8.5 birds/ha). Skylarks, however, were found to be more numerous on Higher Level Stewardship fields (9.3 birds/ha) than Entry Level Stewardship fields (1.2 birds/ha). Entry Level Stewardship stubbles had no post-harvest herbicide and no cultivation until mid-February, Higher Level Stewardship stubbles had the basic Entry Level Stewardship requirements plus reduced herbicide use and cereal crop management prior to the overwinter stubbles. Non-Environmental Stewardship stubbles were rotational stubbles without restrictions on herbicide or cultivation practices. Seed-eating birds were surveyed on two visits to each site between 1 November 2007 and 29 February 2008.

 

Pay farmers to cover the costs of bird conservation measures Bird Conservation

A small 2010 site comparison study of 75 fields in East Anglia and the West Midlands, UK, (Field et al. 2010) found no difference between the numbers of seed-eating birds in fields managed under the Higher Level of the Environmental Stewardship scheme and numbers in fields managed under the Entry Level of the scheme. Entry Level Stewardship fields had stubbles and were prohibited from post-harvest herbicide and cultivation until mid-February, and were planted overwinter with wild bird seed mix. Higher Level Environmental Stewardship fields were planted with enhanced wild bird seed mix and the stubbles had the basic Entry Level Stewardship requirements plus reduced herbicide use. These interventions are discussed in more detail in ‘Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture’ and ‘Leave overwinter stubbles’.

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture Bird Conservation

A replicated 2010 site comparison study of 52 fields in East Anglia and the West Midlands, UK, (Field et al. 2010) found no difference between the number of seed-eating birds in fields managed under the Higher Level Strata of the Environmental Stewardship scheme (i.e. on fields planted with Enhanced Wild Bird Seed Mix) than in fields managed under the Entry Level Strata of the Environmental Stewardship scheme (i.e. fields planted with wild bird cover mix).  In East Anglia, but not the West Midlands, there were significantly more seed-eating birds on fields planted with wild bird cover under the  Environmental Stewardship scheme (59 birds/ha) than non-Environmental Stewardship fields planted with a game cover (2 birds/ha). Seed-eating birds were surveyed on two visits to each site between 1 November 2007 and 29 February 2008.

 

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture Farmland Conservation

A replicated site comparison study between November 2007 and February 2008 of 52 fields in East Anglia and the West Midlands (Field et al. 2010a) (same study as (Field et al. 2010b)) found no difference between the number of seed-eating birds in fields managed under Higher Level Stewardship of the Environmental Stewardship scheme (fields sown with enhanced wild bird seed mix) than in fields managed under Entry Level Stewardship of the Environmental Stewardship scheme (fields sown with wild bird cover mix). In East Anglia, but not the West Midlands, there were significantly more seed-eating birds on fields planted with wild bird cover under the Environmental Stewardship scheme (59.3 birds/ha) than non-Environmental Stewardship fields planted with a game cover (2.1 birds/ha). Seed-eating birds were surveyed on two visits to each site between 1 November 2007 and 29 February 2008.

 

Pay farmers to cover the cost of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes) Farmland Conservation

A small site comparison study between November 2007 and February 2008 on 75 fields in East Anglia and the West Midlands, UK (Field et al. 2010) found no difference between the numbers of seed-eating birds in fields managed under Higher Level Stewardship of the Environmental Stewardship scheme and numbers in fields managed under Entry Level Stewardship. Entry Level Stewardship fields had overwinter stubbles, no post-harvest herbicide application and no cultivation until mid-February and were sown overwinter with wild bird seed mix. Higher Level Stewardship fields were sown with enhanced wild bird seed mix and the stubbles had the same basic Entry Level Stewardship requirements plus reduced herbicide use and cereal crop management before overwintered stubbles.