Let's celebrate conservation benefits: Our letter to the Guardian

Displaying Pheasant1 www.lauriecampbell.com

The legend that Saint Melangell went to Wales to escape a forced marriage may be true but Jim Perrin’s claim that grey partridges run in the lanes around her church, is false (Country diary: no sanctuary for hunted partridge at Melangell’s church, July 14th). As his own photograph shows, these are pheasants. This is a cause for celebration, rather than alarm. There are 30% more songbirds in woods managed for pheasants, twice as many butterflies and an increase in the number of flowering shrubs.

Grain put out by gamekeepers, in the winter for their pheasants, also support many species including dunnock, blackbird and yellowhammer. New woods are more likely to be planted, and existing woodlands to be better preserved where the gamekeepers are. This explains why the RSPB also recognises the positive conservation effect of well managed pheasant shoots. It is time to recognise, rather than criticise, conservation that works.  

Andrew Gilruth
Director of Communications GWCT


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Pheasant Management

at 17:55 on 17/07/2018 by Anthony Burnand

I absolutely agree with you regarding the management of Pheasants helping songbirds, not to mention providing much needed water supplies as well as grain. I do have a problem regarding predators, which is in two parts. Firstly Pheasants are wild, and therefore run the risk of predation like any other bird, they cannot therefore be put in the same category as sheep or cattle. Secondly predation includes the motor car, and traveling down the A286, this must be pretty significant. You can't do diddly squat about the car, so you have to pick on other predators. Now I have seen, Sparrowhawks with young chasing off Corvids, which means Sparrowhawks help. I have seen Magpies, chasing off squirrels and rats, which means, Magpies help. That leaves Buzzards & Foxes, Buzzards will take Snakes, Rats, & Squirrels. That leaves Foxes. Now I like foxes, but they don't make any impact on Rats, Squirrels, Snakes, or Corvids. Foxes are opportunistic hunters, and if they stumble on a pheasants nest, they will clear all the eggs or poults, "so are they helpful?" Well yes they are! they reduce mice numbers, take baby rats, take the odd squirrel, & reduce rabbit numbers. The morale of the Story, take out rogue foxes, rats, and mice, and shoot Pigeons, to make a pie.


at 17:22 on 17/07/2018 by Susan Margaret Heap

This confusion with a pheasant is the typical ignorance of people who think they know about the countryside and particularly field sports. I once asked whether hares were becoming scarce, and the answer was there were more on managed estates than most other places.

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