Farmers And Land Managers Urged To Help Monitor Grey Partridge Numbers
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) is urging farmers, land managers, gamekeepers and landowners in Yorkshire and Lancashire, who have signed up for their Partridge Count Scheme, to take part in the Spring grey partridge count while there is still time.
Members are being reminded to carry out partridge counts on their land and submit a copy of their counts to the GWCT’s national database. The scheme relies on its volunteer members, who are interested in helping to conserve wild grey partridge on their land, to record bird numbers twice a year. Counts are conducted in the Spring to measure breeding abundance and in the Autumn to measure breeding success.
“I would strongly encourage anyone who has signed up for the Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) to get out into the fresh air, see some wildlife and count partridge on your land while there is still time this Spring. For those who have already done so, please do not forget to return your count form to us,” said the GWCT’s head of project Julie Ewald.
“Things are looking good so far this year. Early counts from our advisory and research teams are encouraging,” she continued, “perhaps owing to the milder weather conditions numbers appear to have held up well over the winter. I would also remind anyone who has very few or no partridges to still return their counts. It is just as important to let us know when you haven’t seen any partridges.”
The volunteer farmers, gamekeepers and landowners are given instructions on how to count and encouraged to count around dawn and dusk when birds are out of cover and feeding. Following the count, they receive site-specific guidance based on their results. This can help to identify factors which might be limiting partridges on their land and inform habitat management decisions that could benefit grey partridges and other wildlife. Future counts will then help to track the success of those measures, further encouraging landowners and managers in their commitment to conservation.
The presence of grey partridge is a great barometer of wider farmland biodiversity, and where they are doing well due to successful management, so will many other species. Counts can provide an early warning of a problem, enabling land managers to make changes.
The free, voluntary scheme has been running since 1933. With ongoing declines in wild partridge numbers, in recent years the GWCT formed 15 regional partridge groups to provide focus on the plight of the grey partridge and offer solutions to their recovery. These groups offer events, updates on the GWCT’s partridge research and advice on how to manage land to encourage wild partridges.
For those land managers wanting more information, or interested in joining, please visit www.gwct.org.uk/partridge