A new study by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) investigating the benefits of supplementary feeding during the leanest months of winter concludes that paying farmers to feed their starving farmland birds could be a necessity in the future.

Latest government figures show that the populations of birds such as grey partridges and yellowhammers are still showing a 70 per cent decline, despite the introduction of schemes which pay farmers to put in a range of wildlife-friendly measures on their farms. The GWCT believes a lack of late-winter and early-spring food may be to blame.

The GWCT’s farmland biodiversity advisor, Peter Thompson, said: “We believe that it is vital for the recovery of farmland birds that supplementary feeding, either through pheasant hoppers or spreading grain on the ground, is included as an option under Stewardship Schemes, and the Government is largely in agreement.?

The rest of this article appears in the 15th February issue of Shooting Times.

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