The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has revealed that more than half of the partridges on its Grey Partridge Recovery Project in Hertfordshire were lost to sparrowhawks during the winter months of the five-year project, which ended in 2009.

The GWCT’s Dr Francis Buner explained that he radio-tagged 64 grey partridges in December 2008 to monitor losses. Between February and April 2009, it appeared that 55 per cent of the population had been killed by sparrowhawks. “The research, which is continuingth is winter, will involve radio-tracking partridges as well as sparrowhawks to monitor their hunting behaviour. It will help us to improve the design of winter escape cover for threatened species such as the grey partridge.”