Saturday, 7 March 2015

Flailing around and hedging our bets

The Safari is responding to a discussion on a MA blog recently today about a flyer from the Song Bird Survival or should that be Songbird Survival? They are advocating more research into the declines in song birds and offer some suspicions as to why these are happening on the left hand side of the poster.
We left a quick 'off the phone' keyboard warrior comment Corn bunting, song thrush, tree sparrow bullfinch and linnet would do better if the hedgerows weren't flailed to within an inch of their lives every year. No food no shelter from the elements and no protection from opportunist predators and had a few responses, some positive and some negative, a notable negative post from a Denis Ames. We don't know Denis and don't know what his credentials or experiences are. He came back with Two bits interest me and that is (1)It seems that conservationists always rant on about hedgerow loss whereas it looks as if the fact is that farmers have grown 50,000 more KM of hedgerow since 1990 unless the only facts I can find are incorrect.
(2)why do conservationists come out with things like hedgerows flailed to within a inch of their lives,that is such a exaggeration as to be crazy.
Fact is if a hedge is flailed by most operators once yearly the result is almost exactly the same as it would be trimmed by any other method ever used.Only when a hedge is flailed periodically are the results looking bad but of course even then in spring the hedge will recover really well.
It is time conservationists realised flail hedge trimming is here until something better is thought up and that seems unlikely at the moment.
Interestingly most of those who complain about farm hedge trimming in my experience trim their garden hedges several times a year whereas I have never heard of a farm hedge being trimmed more than once a year.
a John Stone countered
Dennis, unfortunately by flailing a hedge annually, or even in the late summer of the second year, as many are, all we do is ensure that next to no fruit or other food will be available for wildlife to exploit. See my comment about nice houses with empty larders and fridges - looks nice but has no resources.
From there a more full on discussion about hedgerows and their management continued.
Here's our basis take on the situation. Please note that the Safari isn't a farmer but has both sides of the family who have been in farming since at least the early 1600s, probably 800 years before that if our genetically diseased hands are any thing to go by.
A legacy of our Viking settler ancestry. We have worked on farms but not used a flail but we have done many many yards of hedgelaying
We aren't a 'qualified ecologist either, not a member of the CIEEM, but we do have a degree in ecology.

1 comment:

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Oops posted too early, update later next week