FARMERS, land managers and gamekeepers who took part in the Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) this spring are being urged to return their counts to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).
GWCT scientists are collating this season’s results coming in, which will measure spring breeding abundance of wild grey partridges.
“This year’s extended winter really delayed the start of the count and conditions in the count ‘window’ have made it difficult for those taking part, so it’s absolutely essential we encourage everyone involved to return their findings,” said PCS co-ordinator Neville Kingdon.
The count offers a valuable insight into how well wild grey partridges are doing - how well they breed, survive and benefit from habitat and management.
Those who count are passionate about wanting to do something to help wild partridges on the land they manage.
As part of the PCS, participants’ hard work contributes to a better understanding of how partridges are faring regionally and nationally – which is why the GWCT needs more help.
Neville, pictured right, added: “I urge anyone who wants to help grey partridges on their land, irrespective of whether they shoot or not, to get involved. The wild grey partridge is an extremely useful ‘barometer’ of wider farmland biodiversity - what’s good for greys is also good for much more in our countryside, especially other struggling farmland birds. We especially want to encourage those who only have a few pairs left, before it’s too late.”
Grey partridges can bounce back quickly when provided with the right conditions. For many landowners and managers this might be a small ‘tweak’ to what they’re doing already. Those in the PCS receive site-specific results to help better understand what is happening on their ground and helps remove the guesswork of what can be done to get improvements.
As well as individual results, there are currently 15 regional partridge groups which meet to provide opportunities to get face-to-face advice, discuss how to manage land effectively for grey partridges and visits farms that are implementing partridge-friendly management.
The PCS is one of the world’s longest-running farmer-led wildlife monitoring schemes, which began in 1933.
For more information or to get involved visit www.gwct.org.uk/pcs
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
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