As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Rise in population of crows and avian predators linked to pheasant shoots

Call for ecological impact assessment of huge numbers of non-native gamebirds released in UK by shooting industry

Tue 2 Jul 2019 00.01 BSTLast modified on Tue 2 Jul 2019 00.25 BST

Large-scale pheasant and partridge shoots are boosting the populations of avian predators including crows, jays, ravens and buzzards, which are feeding on millions of the non-native gamebirds, according to a new study.

Despite gamekeepers legally trapping and shooting many avian predators to protect pheasants and partridges, researchers found “multiple positive associations” between areas of lowland Britain with large numbers of reared pheasants and partridges and higher populations of avian predators.

Ecologists say crows, ravens and other avian predators are feeding on many of the pheasants and partridges, which are released as young birds into the countryside. Pheasants killed by vehicles on roads also provide carrion for birds such as buzzards.

About 43m pheasants – a non-native species originally from Armenia and Georgia – are released into the British countryside each year, with only 13m birds shot, according to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) data analysed in a second new paper published in British Birds by the wildlife campaigner Mark Avery.

Other European countries release far fewer gamebirds – 3m captive-reared birds are put into the Spanish countryside each year, with about 15m in France – and Britain has higher overall densities of versatile, medium-sized predators such as foxes and crows than other European countries. Ecologists believe one reason is because larger predators such as lynx have been driven to extinction but many also point to huge quantities of released gamebirds providing food for foxes, badgers and red kites.

No comments:

Post a Comment