BBC Landward goes grey partridge counting at Balgonie with the GWCT

Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Scotland’s Fiona Torrance recently took Dougie Vipond from BBC Landward on a grey partridge count around the fields of Balgonie, where conservation efforts have seen numbers of this iconic farmland bird soar in the last 10 years.


The grey partridge was once common in the British countryside, but it has suffered a dramatic 94% decline since the 1980s. Grey partridges have been on the UK’s Red List since its inception in 1996.

The GWCT has been working with the farm team, Kingdom Farming, at Balgonie near Glenrothes, Fife, since 2014 with the aim of increasing populations of grey partridge and other wildlife through targeted management interventions, primarily in the form of creating novel habitats such as wider field margins providing cover and food for them.

Spring counts have recorded a 40% increase in grey partridge pairs, and autumn counts, which include chicks, have gone up by 300%.

Fiona told Dougie: “It’s extremely satisfying. I absolutely love what I do and to see the effects of the habitat and the other measures we are putting in is incredibly rewarding.”

Farm manager John Drysdale also spoke to Dougie about the joy his employees experience seeing the increase in wildlife around them as they go about their daily tasks around the farm.

WATCH: Landward 2024: Episode 10 - Thursday 6 May. The segment starts at 15:42.

Please help us to prove what’s driving nest losses

Since the 1980s, the grey partridge population has plummeted by a staggering 94%, leaving it virtually extinct in many parts of the UK. Please donate today to support our efforts in advising farmers on how to restore the grey partridge population.


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