As a result, the GWCT is about to embark on a new research project, which for the first time will provide detailed information on the life and movement of released birds that survive the season.

Dr Rufus Sage explained: “We have done extensive research on pheasants, but relatively little is known about the ecology of red-legged partridges in Britain, despite the fact that they are a popular choice on many shooting estates.”

This two-year project will involve radio-tracking redlegs following release to find out the percentage of birds that are shot during the season.

The project also aims to reveal how far the birds disperse from their release sites and how many fall victim to foxes and other predators.

Dr Sage added: “We will fit radio-tags to a total of 50 or so red-legged partridges on two sites each year to discover how well they adapt to their habitats and what happens to them after release. This research should help identify how well they cope with different types of habitat as well as revealing their fate after release.”

The rest of this article appears in 17 July issue of Shooting Times.

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