Farmland birds flocking to feast on Stewardship winter seed crop
A crop established earlier in the year is proving to be a huge success with wild farmland birds in their quest to survive the cold winter. Over 20 hectares of winter bird food has been sown around the Mulgrave Estate to attract farmland birds such as Tree Sparrows, Goldfinches, and Linnets.
The crop, which was sown in April at strategic sites across the Estate, is now providing a much needed food source as the birds enter the difficult winter period or ‘hungry gap’ as it is known. The mix, which includes barley, triticale, quinoa, linseed, millet, mustard, fodder radish and sunflower, provides essential seed producing plants which grow, flower and seed giving a huge boost to local birdlife.
Tree Sparrows, a threatened species on the red conservation list in the UK are particularly benefiting from the crop at West Barnby where over 300 of the birds have been spotted recently. The seed mix had an added benefit earlier in the year for bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies and hoverflies using the flowers during the summer months.
Sowing winter bird food is just one of the many options that the Mulgrave Estate has chosen from the suite of Countryside Stewardship choices to assist, enhance and expand biodiversity across the Estate. The crop will remain in the ground for 2 years before returning to the arable rotation and sown at another location on the Estate.