Wednesday, 12 February 2014

10 reasons to support our feed hopper research

To continue our work on winter feeding we are going to investigate the effects of different hopper designs, so that we can show the most efficient methods of winter feeding.

10 reasons to support our work

1. There is not enough food – modern farming is very efficient and there is not enough food left in late winter to feed our game and wildlife.

2 Feeders keep gamebirds in good body condition – this helps to improve the breeding potential of our gamebirds.

3. Feeders increase densities of seedeating songbirds – our research shows that using feed hoppers more than doubles the number of farmland birds, including some red-listed species.

4. Proper feeding = successful pheasant shooting – well-placed feeding sites hold birds during the shooting season.

5. Keep your gamebirds in place – Feeders help to hold breeding pairs of birds to an area.

6. Help with counts – Birds stay closer to feeders during certain periods of the year.

7. ‘Unwanted’ visitors can take a lot of the food – losing a great proportion of the grain to other unwanted species is expensive and time-consuming.

8. The feeding paradox? – our research suggests that many hoppers could be hiding the ‘feeding paradox’; might feed those that feed on gamebirds (ie. rats).

9. Feeders for rat control – feeders can play an important role in rat control, as trapping and poisoning often take place at feeding sites – but can we reduce the use of feeders by rats through other ways?

10. Is our feeding strategy the best it can be? – is it time to re-think how we feed our gamebirds? With feed wheat at £164 per tonne, we should all be curious about whether this feed is getting to its intended recipients – we cannot afford for it not to.

Find out how you can help >

The three elements of the new research
  • To develop new winter feed hopper prototypes.
  • Fit them with motion-sensor cameras and place them on field-test sites to record how they are working.
  • Study the images triggered by birds or other mammals to see if they reduce feeding by unwanted species.

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