Saving Partridge

Once very a common sight in the English countryside, the English Partridge or (Grey Legged Partridge) used to be found in groups of 6-15 (known as coveys) most commonly sighted outside of the breeding season. In recent times however the Partridge population has undergone a serious decline and is now counted as a Red List species! This decline is due to a combination of factors including intensive farming which has dramatically reduced the natural breeding habitat for the birds. The Idea behind the project was to bring the birds in to a safe environment to rear them and to then release them back into the local area



Simon has always had passion for bird watching and their conservation, so along with a few friends he set up a project to give the Partridge a helping hand in the breeding season, building a shelter to protect them from their natural predators such as Foxes and Badgers. Partridge eggs are a tasty treat for Badgers and Foxes love to eat the partridges so the shelter provided them with the ability to breed in peace, and in larger numbers that in the wild. In the summer of 2014 we build 3 holding pens in different locations around Somerset (UK)and introduced fledgling Partridges (young birds around 20 weeks old), thus the release program began. We aimed to release two birds a week throughout the autumn and winter leaving six in the pen at all times. The released birds were encouraged to nest in or around the pen by providing them with food, cover and the reassurance of the rest of their covey being nearby. During the breeding season the birds will have paired up for nesting and In the first week of march all of the birds were released. We released around 80 birds all together hopefully meaning 40 breeding pairs. Our hope is that the nesting birds will reproduce year on year, boosting the population and providing twitchers in the south west with the chance to spot this beautiful bird once again.

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