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Managing woodland for birds

seeding and suckering. Periodic cutting of small coupes into the scrub edge will maintain it as scrub, provide a range of age classes and create a varied edge.

Scalloping the scrub-grass edge will provide a longer boundary, which will have an increased foliage area, and give increased shelter. This will increase invertebrate biomass for foraging birds. Bramble and blackthorn are particularly useful and can be encouraged in patches, although management will be needed to prevent encroachment.

The centre of the ride will develop a herb- rich, grassy character, but some occasional disturbance will encourage ruderal plants to persist; they usually seed prolifically and are excellent sources of seeds. The grassy element can be managed by periodic mowing to prevent scrub encroaching and a heavy thatch from developing.

Management recommendations

  • Width of ride at least 1.5 times the height of surrounding trees.

  • Allow development of scrub along edge of ride, and maintain by periodic cutting of small coupes.

Inner ride:

Outer ride:

Mature

short

long

scrub:

herbaceous

herbaceous

ca 15-year

vegetation

vegetation

rotation

cut annually

cut every

Short rotation scrub: ca 7 years

2–3 years

nesting

foraging

nesting

foraging

nesting

foraging

Table 14 Woodland birds benefiting from ride, glade and open space creation and management.

Species

Honey buzzard Black grouse Woodcock Turtle dove Nightjar Woodlark Tree pipit Garden warbler Willow warbler Firecrest Willow tit Marsh tit Lesser redpoll Hawfinch Bullfinch

Bare ground

Open areas

Songposts required

Scrub edge

35

Figure 13 Section of a ride illustrating important features for birds.

Figure 14 Scrub can be encouraged to develop into the woodland by thinning ride and glade edge trees to increase light penetration.

Figure 15 Managing rides to develop scallops and thinned edges will encourage scrub development and creates diversity.

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