News September 2023

PARTRIDGE measures attract more wintering birds in agricultural areas

Farmland birds are in sharp decline all over Europe. Measures are needed to stop and reverse this decline. During the European Interreg project PARTRIDGE (2016-2023) we tested various measures at demonstration sites in Flanders, the Netherlands, England, Scotland and Germany. We created high-quality habitat for farmland birds such as flower blocks and beetle banks. In Flanders, we did this in Ramskapelle and Isabellapolder. During the winter we carried out point counts in these demo areas and nearby reference areas where no specific measures had been taken. We looked specifically at 27 bird species commonly found in winter in agricultural areas.

We found that areas with the targeted measures attract more birds than standard agricultural areas. Especially seed-eating bird species make frequent use of them. We found on average more species of this group on or near the measures, and their densities were 6 to 42 times higher. For birds that do not depend primarily on seeds, the result is more subtle. On average, the number of species is higher everywhere on or near the measures. In all PARTRIDGE demo areas combined, the number of individual birds is also about 30% higher. In Flanders, there is no difference in the number of individual birds between the demo areas and the reference areas.

Luc De Bruyn

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Photo above: Patridge (foto Glenn Vermeersch)


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