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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Testing agri-environment delivery for farmland birds at the farm scale: the Hillesden experiment

Published source details

Hinsley S.A., Redhead J.W., Bellamy P.E., Broughton R.K., Hill R.A., Heard M.S. & Pywell R.F. (2010) Testing agri-environment delivery for farmland birds at the farm scale: the Hillesden experiment. Ibis, 152, 500-514


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

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

A 2010 before-and-after trial of the Entry Level Stewardship on a 1,000 ha lowland arable farm in central England (Hinsley et al. 2010) observed that the number of seed-eating birds was higher on both Entry Level Stewardship and conventionally farmed fields in the winter of 2006/2007 than during the previous winter – when the Entry Level Stewardship was first introduced. This increase was greater on Entry Level Stewardship plots setting aside five percent of farmland to provide winter bird food (with an average of 70 birds/km of transect in 2007 vs. 5 birds/km of transect in 2006) than on conventionally farmed fields (25 birds/km of transect in 2007 vs. 10 birds/km of transect in 2006). Although there were also more summer breeding territories of seed-eating species, chaffinch Fringilla coelebs, dunnock Prunella modularis, and robin Erithacus rubecula on the farm as a whole in 2007 than in the previous breeding season, there was no difference in this increase between Entry Level Stewardship and conventional fields. Land managed according to the minimal environmental requirements was compared both with fields where five percent of land was removed from production and replaced with patches of winter bird food and field margins (6–8 m). Winter birds were surveyed from transects on three visits (November, December, and January) in both the winters of 2005/2006 and 2006?2007 - i.e. before and after bird food patch establishment. Breeding territories were surveyed during four visits (April, May, June, and July) in 2006 and 2007.

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

A before-and-after trial of the Entry Level Stewardship scheme (an option within the Environmental Stewardship scheme) on a 1,000 ha lowland arable farm in central England (Hinsley et al. 2010) observed that the number of seed-eating birds was higher on both Entry Level Stewardship and conventionally farmed fields in the winter of 2006-2007 than during the previous winter (2005-2006) when the Entry Level Stewardship scheme was first introduced. This increase was greater on Entry Level Stewardship plots setting aside 5% of farmland to provide winter bird food (with an average of 70 birds/km of transect in 2007 vs five birds/km of transect in 2006) than on conventionally farmed fields (25 birds/km of transect in 2007 vs ten birds/km of transect in 2006). Although there were also more summer breeding territories of seed-eating species, chaffinch Fringilla coelebs, dunnock Prunella modularis, and robin Erithacus rubecula on the farm as a whole in 2007 than in the previous breeding season (2006), there was no difference in this increase between Entry Level Stewardship and conventional fields. Land managed according to the minimal environmental requirements was compared both with fields where 5% of land was removed from production and replaced with patches of winter bird food and field margins (6-8 m). Winter birds were surveyed from transects on three visits (November, December, and January) in both the winters of 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 - i.e. before and after bird food patch establishment. Breeding territories were surveyed during four visits (April, May, June, and July) in 2006 and 2007.