Practical things to do in the coming weeks
After a season hampered by Covid restrictions, some shoots chose to improve their wild stock. Nesting habitat is a key requirement and can be enhanced by allowing grass margins against woods and hedgerows to grow and seed without grazing or cutting.
Brood-rearing habitat is vital for wild game and should be close to good nesting habitat and full of accessible insects close to the ground. It needs a protective canopy of tall vegetation, without being too thick that it stays wet after rain or inhibits the movement of chicks. Brood-rearing cover can be planted in March to establish by June. Additionally, a minimum of six-metre-wide headlands can be left unsprayed to encourage weeds.
Spring feeding is vital, especially for wild stock. Continue feeding through until there is plenty of natural food available again, most likely to be May. Move hoppers to where cocks are defending territories and close to good nesting habitat.
By now your predation control programme should be in full swing. Protecting your wild birds is essential to maximise breeding success, and it will help deliver wider benefits by protecting other vulnerable species through the nesting season.
Send us your gamebag records
As the season has ended, please take the time to send in your gamebag records to the National Gamebag Census. The more data we receive, the better the summary trends that we produce. All records are strictly confidential. If you have historical data held in game books, do let us know.
Find out more at www.gwct.org.uk/ngc or call Corinne Duggins on 01425 651012.
Enter the GWCT Julian Gardner awards
Open to amateur wildlife photographers, submit your photos of the UK countryside – be it game, wildlife, habitat or the people who live and work there. Entries are open until 30 June 2021. For more information or to enter, please visit www.gwct.org.uk/photocompetition.