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GWCT squirrel research

Two years of research by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has found that grey squirrels have a significant effect on certain woodland birds? fledging success.

The pioneering project used a method known as ?randomised removal experiment? which tested the effects of removing grey squirrels from randomly selected areas of woodland.

It found that some birds in woods where squirrels were removed experienced more success in rearing young than in a comparable wood where no squirrel control was undertaken.

George Farr, chairman of the European Squirrel Initiative, which commissioned the study, said: ?The results from this research indicate that grey squirrels at particular densities have a noticeable effect on some birds, particularly those which have open nests, rather than nesting in holes or hollow trees.?

The GWCT?s Professor Nick Sotherton told Shooting Times that in woods where squirrels were removed, an improvement in productivity of 20 per cent or more was found in some species, including chaffinches and blackbirds.

The rest of this article appears in the 7th March issue of Shooting Times.

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