Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 54/2 | 2017 | 49-52

  When to cut the hedges? The added value for breeding birds of an extension to the period of ban on trimming farm hedges
Arnaud Laudelout & Jean-Yves Paquet

Article is not available in pdf French article available for download in 2019

Article summary

Under the current legislation, the trimming of hedges in agricultural land in Wallonia is prohibited between April 15 and June 30, so as to protect nesting birds. This paper examines the effect that lengthening this period, following various different scenarios, might have on reducing the risk of disturbing nesting birds. The risk is estimated from the proportions of observations of nesting activities (construction, incubating, feeding the young) which occur either before, or after, certain key dates. The data come from a generalist database of observations in Wallonia, covering more than 50 years.Our analysis indicates that for species that typically use farm hedges, prolonging the period of the ban from July 1 to July 31 would reduce that risk by a factor of 8. Starting the ban a fortnight earlier, on April 1 instead of April 15, would reduce the risk at the start of nesting by a factor of 4. Bringing the ban forward into March (to March 15 or to March 1) would benefit sedentary species. However many of these species also make use of other woody habitats.

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