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Individual study: Management of grassy margins affects bird use more than the seed mix used; experiments in Eastern England

Published source details

Henderson I.G., Morris A.J., Westbury D.B., Woodcock B.A., Potts S.G., Ramsay A. & Coombes R. (2007) Effects of field margin management on bird distributions around cereal fields. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, 53-60


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

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips for birds Bird Conservation

A randomised, replicated, controlled trial of sown grassy field margins from 2002 to 2006 in eastern England (Henderson et al. 2007) found that the management of margins affected bird use more than the seed mix used. The number of birds using the margins in summer increased by 29% between 2003 and 2006. Bird densities were higher on disturbed and graminicide-treated plots than on cut plots (no actual bird densities given, only model results). Bird densities were linked to densities of diurnal ground beetles (Carabidae), especially in disturbed and graminicide-treated plots. In winter, there were twice as many birds on cut margins as uncut margins, and twice as many birds in the second year than the first. Field margin plots (6 x 30 m) were established using one of three seed mixes: 1) Countryside Stewardship mix, 2) tussock grass mix and 3) a mixture of grasses and forbs designed for pollinating insects. The margins were managed in spring from 2003 to 2005 with one of three treatments: 1) cut to 15 cm, 2) soil disturbed by scarification until 60% of the area was bare ground, 3) treated with graminicide at half the recommended rate. There were five replicates of each treatment combination, at two farms - one in Boxworth, Cambridgeshire, England, and one in High Mowthorpe, Yorkshire, England. Birds were surveyed five to eight times between April and July from 2002 to 2006. In winters of 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, birds were also surveyed on 6 m margins on 10 farms in eastern England with two seed mixes (tussocky grass and fine grass). Margins were either cut in autumn or uncut. There were four replicates of each treatment combination per farm.

 

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

A randomised, replicated, controlled trial of sown grassy field margins from 2002 to 2006 in eastern England (Henderson et al. 2007) found that the management of margins affect bird use more than the seed mix used. The number of birds using margins on two farms in summer increased by 29% between 2003 and 2006 and bird densities were higher on disturbed and plots treated with grass-killing herbicides (graminicides) than on cut plots (no actual bird densities given, only model results). Bird densities were linked to densities of diurnal ground beetles (Carabidae), especially in disturbed and graminicide-treated plots. In winter, there were twice as many birds on cut margins on 10 farms as on uncut margins, and twice as many birds in the second year than the first. Field margin plots (6 x 30 m) were established using one of three seed mixes: 1) Countryside Stewardship mix, 2) tussock grass mix and 3) a mixture of grasses and forbs designed for pollinating insects. The margins were managed in spring from 2003 to 2005 with one of three treatments: 1) cut to 15 cm, 2) soil disturbed by scarification until 60% of the area was bare ground, 3) treated with graminicide at half the recommended rate. There were five replicates of each treatment combination, at two farms - one in Boxworth, Cambridgeshire, England, and High Mowthorpe, Yorkshire, England. Birds were surveyed five to eight times between April and July from 2002 to 2006. In winters of 2004/5 and 2005/6, birds were also surveyed on 6 m margins on 10 farms in eastern England with two seed mixes (tussocky grass and fine grass). Margins were either cut in autumn or uncut. There were four replicates of each treatment combination per farm.

 

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

A randomized, replicated, controlled trial from 2002 to 2006 in eastern England, UK (Henderson et al. 2007) (same study as Pywell et al. 2007, Ramsay et al. 2007) found that the management of sown grass field margins affected bird use more than the seed mix used. Bird densities were higher on disturbed and grass-specific herbicide-treated plots than on cut plots (no actual bird densities given, only model results). Bird densities were linked to densities of diurnal ground beetles (Carabidae), especially in disturbed and grass-specific herbicide-treated plots. The number of birds using the margins in summer increased by 29% between 2003 and 2006. In winter, there were twice as many birds on cut margins than uncut margins, and twice as many birds in the second year than the first. Field margin plots (6 x 30 m) were established using one of three seed mixes: Countryside Stewardship mix (seven grass species), tussock grass mix and a mixture of grasses and wildflowers designed for pollinating insects. The margins were managed in spring from 2003 to 2005 with one of three treatments: cut to 15 cm, soil disturbed by scarification until 60% of the area was bare ground, treated with grass-specific herbicide at half the recommended rate. There were five replicates of each treatment combination, at two farms. Birds were surveyed five to eight times between April and July from 2002 to 2006. In the winters of 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, birds were surveyed on 6 m-margins on 10 farms with two seed mixes (tussocky grass and fine grass). Margins were either cut in autumn or uncut. There were four replicates of each treatment combination per farm.

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips Farmland Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled trial from 2002 to 2006 in eastern England (Henderson et al. 2007) (same study as Pywell et al. 2007, Ramsay et al. 2007) found that the number of birds using sown wildflower margins in summer increased by 29% between 2003 and 2006. The management of sown wildflower field margins affected bird use more than the seed mix used. Bird densities were higher on disturbed and grass-specific herbicide-treated plots than on cut plots (no actual bird densities given, only model results). Bird densities were linked to densities of diurnal ground beetles (Carabidae), especially in disturbed and grass-specific herbicide-treated plots. Field margin plots (6 x 30 m) were established using one of three seed mixes: Countryside Stewardship grass mix, tussock grass mix and a mixture of grasses and wildflowers designed for pollinating insects. The margins were managed in spring from 2003 to 2005 with one of three treatments: cut to 15 cm, soil disturbed by scarification until 60% of the area was bare ground, treated with grass-specific herbicide at half the recommended rate. There were five replicates of each treatment combination at two farms. Birds were surveyed five to eight times between April and July from 2002 to 2006.