Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

More godwits in bird-friendly managed meadowlands

Date:
September 13, 2011
Source:
University of Groningen
Summary:
Bird-friendly meadowland management measurably benefits godwits according to researchers, based on four years of field work conducted in southwest Friesland. An egg laid in farmland with a higher water table, greater plant variety among the grass and a later mowing date has no less than a 17 times greater chance to lead to a mature godwit the following spring than an egg laid in highly productive, intensively farmed fields, in other words farmland managed in traditional fashion.

Bird-friendly meadowland management measurably benefits godwits according to researchers at the University of Groningen, based on four years of field work conducted in southwest Friesland. An egg laid in farmland with a higher water table, greater plant variety among the grass and a later mowing date has no less than a 17 times greater chance to lead to a mature godwit the following spring than an egg laid in highly productive, intensively farmed fields, in other words farmland managed in traditional fashion.

Related Articles


Researchers at the University of Groningen Department of Animal Ecology studied 850 godwit pairs between 2007 and 2010 on 8,741 ha of farmland in southwest Friesland. Twenty percent of this farmland was under bird-friendly management by private farmers and the nature preservation organizations It Fryske Gea and the National Forest Service (Staatsbosbeheer). Godwits were given coloured rings for the research, which meant they could be individually distinguished from a distance, and the survival rates of the chicks and mature birds could be monitored from year to year.

Ecological 'sink'

The 20% of the farmland under bird-friendly management was home to 60% of the breeding godwit population. The specially managed farmland was a source of new godwits during the study period, while the traditionally managed farmland was an ecological 'sink', where on balance more godwits died than successfully hatched. The major difference between the two types of meadowland was in the survival rate of eggs and chicks. Fifty-four percent of the eggs laid in farmland under bird-friendly management hatched successfully, as opposed to 32% of the eggs laid in traditionally managed areas.

Successful chicks

A chick hatched in a bird-friendly meadow proved to have a ten times better chance to return as a breeding bird the following year. All in all, an egg laid in a bird-friendly meadow turned out to be 17 times more successful the following year. There was no difference in the survival rate of the mature birds in the two types of meadowland.

Moves

Apparently the godwits are aware of the better chances to be had. In general, the birds are very faithful to their nest sites. Most nests are within 300 metres of last year's nest site. However, if moves were made by godwits, this was more often from traditionally managed meadows to bird-friendly managed ones (23% of all breeding pairs), than vice versa (4% of all breeding pairs), despite the great difference in area.

Stemming the decline

On a national scale, the godwit population is still doing very poorly, with numbers dropping annually by over 5%. Stemming the decline is best achieved by investing in nest and chick survival. Once fully mature, godwits seem to have few problems surviving.

Effective management

Meadow birds do have a future in the Netherlands but only in those areas with effective bird-friendly management: a high water table, so birds can dig for worms in the soft soil and the vegetation becomes more structured, greater plant variety with enough large insects for the chicks, sufficient cover, and only mown late in June, so eggs and chicks are not killed by the mowing machines. Only then will there be sufficient godwits produced to compensate for the birds that die.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Groningen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Groningen. "More godwits in bird-friendly managed meadowlands." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110913092347.htm>.
University of Groningen. (2011, September 13). More godwits in bird-friendly managed meadowlands. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110913092347.htm
University of Groningen. "More godwits in bird-friendly managed meadowlands." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110913092347.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) A goblin shark, a rare sea creature described as an &apos;alien of the deep&apos; is found off Australia and delivered to the Australian Museum in Sydney. Duration: 01:25 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Hundreds of snakes, disturbed by a construction project, were relocated to a wildlife rescue association in Canada. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) If a doctor advises you to remove gluten from your diet, you could get a tax deduction on the amount you spend on gluten-free foods. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Buzz60 (Mar. 2, 2015) Zookeepers at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, Australia decided to take some of their favorite animal photos and recreate them by posing just like the animals. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins