Cropping and year effects on the availability of invertebrate groups important in the diet of nestling farmland birds.
The availability of thirteen invertebrate groups found to be important in the diet of nestlings was compared in five common arable habitats, four winter crops and grazed pasture over five years. Invertebrate food groups were also collected from planted non-crop, wild bird cover strips, over the same period. Significant cropping and/or year differences were found for twelve of the invertebrates. Crop preference differed significantly between invertebrate groups, with the greatest number of most groups being found in wheat; however set-aside strips sown with either grasses or a wild bird cover mixture contained significantly greater numbers compared to most crop types including wheat. In contrast only aphids were predominately found in cereals.