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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery. BD1628

Published source details

Defra (2007) Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery. BD1628. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs report.


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

Provide supplementary food for birds or mammals Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study from November-March 2004-2007 in 10 experimental and 10 control tetrads (composed of four 1 km2 sites) of arable farmland in East Anglia, UK (Defra 2007) found that provision of seeds during winter significantly increased body mass and breeding population sizes of seed-eating bird species. Supplementary food was most used in early to mid-winter for generalist species and late winter for specialist species (such as chaffinch Fringilla coelebs and yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella). Radio tracking and mark-recapture techniques revealed that resource patches (such as wild bird cover crops and overwinter stubbles) should be separated by 1.1-1.3 km to be both cost and conservation effective for priority species (like yellowhammer). The authors suggest that year-round resource delivery could be achieved by placing breeding habitat 2.7-3.6 km from winter food patches. They caution that specific inter-patch distances may vary according to species and habitat but should be based on species of conservation concern. Experimental sites contained one central feeding station provided freely with seed (10 kg of equally distributed millet, rape, wheat and sunflower seeds; replenished twice a week) and were fenced (50 cm in height) using 50 mm mesh wire and bamboo canes to exclude gamebirds. This study was an extension of and used partly the same experimental set-up as (Siriwardena & Stevens 2004, Defra 2005, Siriwardena et al. 2006, Siriwardena et al. 2007, Siriwardena et al. 2008).

 

Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase adult survival Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled study from November-March in 2004-2007 in 10 experimental and 10 control tetrads (composed of four 1 km2 sites) of arable farmland in East Anglia, UK (Anon 2007) found that provision of seeds during winter significantly increased body mass and breeding population sizes of seed-eating species. Supplementary food was most used in early to mid winter for generalist species and late winter for specialist species (such as chaffinch Fringilla coelobs and yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella). Radio tracking and mark-recapture techniques revealed that resource patches (such as wild bird cover crops and over-winter stubbles) should be separated by 1.1 – 1.3 km to be both cost and conservation effective for priority species (like yellowhammers). The authors suggest that year-round resource delivery could be achieved by placing breeding habitat 2.7 – 3.6 km from winter food patches. They caution that specific inter-patch distances may vary according to species and habitat but should be based on species of conservation concern. Experimental sites contained one central feeding station provided ad libitum with seed (10 kg of equally distributed millet, rape, wheat and sunflower seeds; replenished twice a week) and were fenced (50 cm in height) using 50 mm mesh wire and bamboo canes.