Farmers and landowners in Northern England are being asked to join a campaign to save one of the countryside’s most threatened birds, the grey partridge.
The partridge was once one of our commonest species, with groups of them in almost every field, but they have suffered a precipitous 86% decline in the past 40 years because of wet summers and predation by crows and magpies.
But help is at hand thanks to a 40-year research programme by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and the backing of the Country Land and Business Association.
The research in selected areas has proved that partridge numbers can be restored to health if farmers and landowners co-operate – and that co-operation is now be sought by the two organisations.
Says Dr Nicholas Aeibisher of the GWCT: “The Trust has been researching the issues facing grey partridges for the past 40 years. No other farmland bird has had such a vast amount of money and research dedicated to its survival.
“We now have the expertise and science to target their specific needs but if we are to restore the fortunes of this once familiar farmland bird then a much larger community of farmers, landowners and conservationists needs to be mobilised.”
The call for help is being backed by Mr William Worsley, the North Yorkshire landowner who is president of the CLA. For more details, see www.gwct.org.uk/courses