BBC figures on grey partridges ‘wildly inaccurate’ – our response to Radio 4

While we welcome the BBC highlighting the decline of grey partridge in Britain (Short Cuts, Radio 4, 24 March), sadly the reporters have their numbers all wrong.  Although numbers have declined by more than 90% since the 1960s, their claim that “today there are only about 100 grey partridges left in the UK” is not just incorrect, but wildly inaccurate.

The national population figures published by the Avian Population Estimates Panel this February estimates that there are 37,000 pairs in the UK. An error of this magnitude is the same as estimating that the human population of the UK stands at 90,000 individuals.

Our research shows that grey partridges can thrive where the conditions are right. As the programme suggests, herbicide and insecticide does have an impact, as does hedgerow loss and an increase in numbers of generalist predators.

However, there are measures, many available within current agri-environment schemes, that can address these issues.  We are reliant on the conservation work of farmers and gamekeepers in reversing these declines and many across the country are currently doing this.  

More information can be found here and here.

James Swyer
Press & Publications Manager
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

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Grey partridges

at 14:52 on 31/03/2020 by Paul White

Re the piece about the BBC inaccuracy concerning Grey English Partridges. Have you written to them complaining about this blatant biased reporting? It is about time the media and the BBC in particular, were severely reprimanded about their continued misinformation regarding rural issues. Enough is enough, no other sector of society would put up with this continual "drip,drip" anti -rural reporting.

English Partridges

at 13:51 on 31/03/2020 by James Betteridge

Having spent several,years releasing a few and not shooting them, improving habitat we finally discovered why our efforts had failed. French Partridges and pheasants will run for Cover when an overhead predator is present. English Partridges, live in a covey, and freeze on the ground when threatened from above. Following the hugely successful re-introduction of the Red Kite we have now so many that they have even pushed some of the Honey Buzzards away. It is the Red Kites that have been seen picking of the Grey Partridge one by one! James (Welsh Borders)

Grey Partridge figures

at 12:59 on 31/03/2020 by John R. Hall

Please tell the BBC that using their figures we have about quarter of the UKs population of Grey Partridge on our farm! Where on earth do these people do their research? Is it using Mr. Packhams Fables? The only problem is that the damage is now done as the BBC will NOT rectify by saying sorry unless they make a full programme about Grey Partridge conservation.

Grey Partridge numbers.

at 12:44 on 31/03/2020 by John Close

Can I guess who gives the BBC their information? 3wk ago on our small 300acre shoot I counted around 15pair. These are real wild greys, not any released. Pity if we really do have a third of the UK population. Regard John

grey partridge

at 11:51 on 31/03/2020 by mark yorke

I have been rough shooting on a small farm (predominately cattle and sheep with a small proportion being arable) in Northumberland for many years (not shooting partridge ) where there has never been any form of predator control. However every year I lift a covey or a pair.The farm has significant lengths of hedgerows with thick bottom cover which I reckon is of signifcance in the circumstaces, together with the fact that they are known to be "good parents".

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