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Woodland management for birds: Priority species

Conservation issues

  • Changes to the structure, which reduce the continuity of extensive mature canopy, can lead to desertion of occupied woodlands.

  • High grazing levels may cause insufficient field and shrub layer cover for hawfinches to feed on fallen seeds.

  • Reduced breeding success due to increased levels of grey squirrel and corvid predation (Fuller et al. 2005; Hewson et al. 2004).

Management advice

General

  • Target management to suitable woodland in key areas.

  • Avoid sudden structural changes as this may cause desertion of an occupied woodland.

  • Retain known roost sites and minimise disturbance.

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Increase the extent or improve the quality of nest sites

  • Retain mature trees, especially those with

climbing plants, eg ivy or honeysuckle.

Increase the extent or improve the quality of foraging habitat

  • Encourage important seed trees, eg hornbeam, beech and cherry, through active retention, encouraging younger tree development by creating an appropriate canopy gap, planting and/ or protecting suppressed trees.

  • Encourage shrub and field layer development to provide cover for birds feeding on fallen seeds through reducing grazing pressure. It may be necessary to create canopy gaps to promote shrub layer development.

  • Restore or create drinking pools (close proximity of water to foraging areas is essential).

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