Grey Partridge Appeal

Jasper Brennberger2Photo by Jasper Brennberger

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Help us advise farmers on how to boost grey partridge populations

Your support is vital to our work to save the grey partridge. Your donations will allow our conservationists to provide expert advice on how best to manage and protect populations to the farmers who need it most.

By Andrew Hoodless, GWCT Director of Research

Did you know that the grey partridge is not only the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s logo, but it is also a biodiversity indicator species? GWCT Senior Conservation Scientist Francis Buner explains:

‘Where we do what is right for the grey partridge, we do what is right for farmland wildlife’. Grey partridges face many of the same challenges as other farmland birds – a lack of insect-food for their chicks, little suitable nesting and winter cover, and increased predation pressure.

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 bird is now essentially gone from Northern Ireland, the entire western coast of Britain, except in Anglesey, and continues to disappear locally throughout the rest of its former UK range. It is five to midnight for the grey partridge!

This will not come as a surprise to long-standing members of the GWCT.

Research-based conservation projects, managed by the GWCT (such as at Royston and Rotherfield) or instigated by individual landowners – many Gamewise readers, have shown how numbers can be increased locally. There were indications in the early 2010s that, more broadly, members of the GWCT’s Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) had turned around declines in grey partridges across the UK. This did not last.

Dr Julie Ewald, GWCT Principal Scientist for Farmland Ecology and GIS, reports ‘Since the setbacks of the wet summer of 2012, numbers have remained low, with breeding densities in 2023 reaching lows last recorded twenty years previously.’

Land managers need to renew their efforts for grey partridge conservation and the Trust needs to support them. We need your help for this major effort. It will be a marathon, not a sprint – but we do have one thing on our side. Grey partridges, given safe nesting sites and ample insect food for their chicks, can produce large coveys, recovering numbers quickly.

When it comes to grey partridge, we at the GWCT play a pivotal role in grey partridge conservation. The RSPB does not see the grey partridge as one of their priority species – it is up to farmers and hunters to save the grey partridge.

The Government will only reach its legally binding targets to recover farmland wildlife if the GWCT model for partridge recovery is rolled out across the countryside. The GWCT supports the conservation efforts of the farmers and wildlife managers who look after 70% of the UK’s landmass. That’s why, as a symbol of nature-friendly farming, the partridge is the perfect logo for our charity.

Grey partridge research, undertaken by the GWCT and others, points the way forward but needs constant monitoring and adjustment to changes in the arable environment. These reflect changes in climate, agronomy, and the opportunities provided by agri-environmental schemes – which provide the tools for most grey partridge conservation.

To halt and then recover this important farmland bird, scientists, and advisors from the GWCT, farmers and landowners, policy makers and influencers need to get together and work much harder to save this bird from further certain local and regional declines across the UK.

Donate Here →

To turn around the fortunes of the grey partridge we need your help.

  • £25 pays for sending out a packet of conservation factsheets.
  • £50 covers travel costs for an advisory visit to enable landowners and land managers to take steps to improve grey partridge numbers.
  • £100 pays for one hour of a visiting GWCT conservation advisor.
  • £500 covers a half-day GWCT farm advisory visit to a property to advise and create a plan for grey partridge recovery.

Could you make a difference by donating today?

Your support is vital to our work to save the grey partridge. Your donations will allow our conservationists to provide advice on how best to manage and protect populations to farmers who cannot afford to pay for it themselves. GWCT members and supporters have helped enormously improve the plight of the grey partridge, but we now need your help again to keep this vital work going and spread it across the country.

Take action to help the grey partridge, any donation makes a difference.

No other organisation is trusted by the countryside community in this way and we’re grateful to all of you who have already taken on our advice and supported our grey partridge count work.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. We appreciate the support you can provide.

Please donate today to help us advise farmers and land managers on how to boost grey partridge numbers.