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If we want to bring back farmland birds, restore a farmland pond, new research shows Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust - Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Credit: Natural History Museum, University College London, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, British Trust for Ornithology

Less than 70 years ago, ponds were a common feature of the farmland landscape, and were routinely managed just like hedgerows. Since the 1950s, many ponds have been filled in to reclaim more land for farming, however large number have been left unmanaged, meaning they have become overgrown with trees and bushes, making them dark and inhabitable to many species.

WWT has been working with the Natural History Museum and University College London on research that shows reinstating traditional pond management methods, of tree and mud removal, can benefit not only pond species, but also farmland birds.

Ponds restored by the Norfolk Ponds Project, were compared to neighbouring unmanaged and overgrown ponds; restored ponds contained twice as many bird species and almost three times as many birds, as the overgrown ponds.

Bird species at the restored ponds included skylark, linnet, yellowhammer and starling, all species that are Red Listed in the UK because they have declined drastically in recent years.

There were 95 sightings of these four species in and around the restored ponds, which compared to just two sightings of yellowhammer and none of skylark, starling or linnet at the unrestored ponds.

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