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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Wild bird cover crops increase bird density and diversity over winter, especially if multiple crops are planted

Published source details

Stoate C., Henderson I.G. & Parish D.M.B. (2004) Development of an agri-environment scheme option: seed-bearing crops for farmland birds. Ibis, 146, 203-209


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

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture Bird Conservation

A review of the results of four projects conducted from 1998-2004 of wild bird cover crops planted in arable farms in England (Stoate et al. 2004) found that the density and diversity of bird species increased significantly when wild bird cover crops were included in the farm. Four studies reported greater use of wild bird cover crops than of commercial crops during winter (October-March). One study reported an increase in bird abundance when wild bird cover crops were introduced into areas that previously lacked them. Kale Brassica napus and quinoa Chenopodium quinoa were used by the most species. Buckwheat was rarely used by species in any of the studies. Millet was used by more species than any other cereal. Three other studies also found that the location of wild bird covers within the whole-farm configuration had an effect on bird densities. Wild bird covers located close to hedges were favoured. Four studies found that a mixture of wild bird cover crops will produce the highest bird density and diversity.

 

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture Farmland Conservation

A review of the results of four projects conducted from 1998 to 2004 on wild bird cover crops planted in arable farms in England (Stoate et al. 2004) found that the density and diversity of bird species increased significantly when wild bird cover crops were included in the farm. Four studies reported greater use of wild bird cover crops than of commercial crops during winter (October-March). One study reported an increase in bird abundance when wild bird cover crops were introduced into areas that previously lacked them. Kale Brassica napus and quinoa Chenopodium quinoa were used by the most species. Buckwheat Fagopyron esculentum was rarely used by species in any of the studies. Millet was used by more species than any other cereal. Three other studies also found that the location of wild bird covers within the whole-farm configuration had an effect on bird densities. Wild bird covers located close to hedges were favoured. Four studies found that a mixture of wild bird cover crops will produce the highest bird density and diversity.