Study

Game crops and threatened farmland songbirds in Scotland: a step towards halting population declines?

  • Published source details Parish D.M.B. & Sotherton N.W. (2004) Game crops and threatened farmland songbirds in Scotland: a step towards halting population declines?. Bird Study, 51, 107-107.

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

Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Leave overwinter stubbles

    A replicated, randomised, controlled study from November-February in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 in 20 arable farms in eastern Scotland (Parish & Sotherton 2004) found that, of 23 species recorded, only skylarks Alauda arvensis were significantly denser in fields with stubble left over winter than fields with wild bird cover crops or conventional crops. Stubble fields were those in which cereal and oilseed rape stubbles were left over winter. Between 6.2 and 28.3 ha were sampled on each farm annually. This study is discussed in more detail in ‘Plant wild bird cover crops’ and ‘Provide set-aside areas’.

     

  2. Leave overwinter stubbles

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study from November-February in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 in 20 arable farms in eastern Scotland (Parish & Sotherton 2004) found that, of 23 bird species recorded, only Eurasian skylark Alauda arvensis was significantly more abundant in fields with stubble left over winter than fields with wild bird cover crops or conventional crops. Stubble fields were those in which cereal and oilseed rape stubbles were left over winter. Six to 28 ha were sampled on each farm annually.

     

  3. Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

    A replicated, randomised, controlled study from November-February in 2000/2001 and 2001/2002 in 20 arable farms in eastern Scotland (Parish & Sotherton 2004) found that, of 23 species recorded, only Eurasian skylarks were found at higher densities in fields with set-aside than fields with wild bird cover crops or conventional crops. Bird density was up to 100 times greater in wild bird cover crops than on set-aside fields. The wild bird cover crops attracted 50% more species than set-aside fields. Of eight species with sufficient data for individual analysis, seven were consistently significantly more abundant in wild bird cover than in set-aside fields. Set-aside fields were those in which cereal stubble was left to regenerate naturally. Between 6 and 28 ha were sampled on each farm annually.

  4. Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture

    A replicated, randomised, controlled study from November-February in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 in 20 arable farms in eastern Scotland (Parish & Sotherton 2004) found that farmland bird abundance and diversity were significantly higher in fields containing wild bird cover crops (0.6-4.2 ha sampled annually) than fields with set-aside, fields with overwinter stubble or fields with conventional crops. Bird density was up to 100 times higher/ha in wild bird cover crops than on control fields. The wild bird cover crops attracted 50% more species than set-aside and stubble fields; and 91% more than the conventional fields. Of eight species with sufficient data for individual analysis, seven were consistently significantly more abundant in wild bird cover than in control crops. However, skylarks were significantly more abundant in set-aside and stubble fields. The authors point out that many of the species that favour wild bird cover crops are those currently causing concern because of their declining populations.

     

  5. Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study from November-February in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 on 20 arable farms in eastern Scotland (Parish & Sotherton 2004a) found that farmland bird abundance and diversity were significantly higher in fields containing wild bird cover crops (0.6-4.2 ha sampled annually) than fields with set-aside, fields with overwinter stubble or fields with conventional crops. Bird density was up to 100 times higher/ha in wild bird cover crops than on control fields. Wild bird cover crops attracted 50% more species than set-aside and stubble fields and 91% more than conventional fields. Of eight species with sufficient data for individual analysis, seven were consistently significantly more abundant in wild bird cover than in control crops. However, Eurasian skylarks Alauda arvensis were significantly more abundant in set-aside and stubble fields. The authors point out that many of the species that favour wild bird cover crops are those currently causing concern because of their declining populations.

  6. Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

    A replicated, controlled site comparison study from November-February in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 on 20 arable farms in eastern Scotland (Parish & Sotherton 2004) found that, of 23 species recorded, only skylarks (Alauda arvensis) were significantly denser in fields with set-aside than fields with wild bird cover crops or conventional crops. Bird density was up to 100 times higher in wild bird cover crops than on set-aside fields. The wild bird cover crops attracted 50 % more species than set-aside fields. Of eight species with sufficient data for individual analysis, seven were consistently more abundant in wild bird cover than in set-aside fields. Set-aside fields were those in which cereal stubble was left to regenerate naturally. Between 6.2 and 28.3 ha were sampled on each farm annually.

     

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust