The Covey

A species in great decline across Europe the Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix).  It is estimated that in the UK the population has fallen by 80% in the last fifty years and now sightings of coveys are quite rare.

Family portrait. Four Grey Partridges pose for the camera

The reasons for this loss are many.  Firstly from the 1950’s there was massive increase in the use of insecticides and herbicides on farmland.  This effectively killed off the insect food for chicks and weed seeds for adults.  Habitat was destroyed by the removing of hedgerows and ploughing fields right to their edges, the Partridge had nowhere to nest or hide.

Although some farming practices have improved numbers keep falling.  There are more predators like corvids and foxes, also the introduction of huge numbers of non-native Pheasants and Red-legged Partridges for game shooting has impacted the population by introducing disease.  The future of this delightful and shy bird is not great.


24 thoughts on “The Covey

  1. At the weekend I was at a demonstration in Berlin, where the topic of species protection played a big role. Nevertheless, Brussels continues to focus on glyphosate. Partridge losses in Germany have been 94% since 2003 We all have to lift our fingers and say that things can not go on like this

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  2. Ah, a bird I actually have an opportunity to see thanks to the introduction from Europe in the early 1900’s – and by opportunity I mean it’s supposed to live year round fairly close to me, however, I’ve yet to encounter it. The good news is Cornell lists it as Least Concern over here (lays up to 22 eggs at a time which helps its chances). Pretty birds, thanks for introducing them to me. Oh, and thanks for getting Ron back on the blogging horse.

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    1. I hope their chances are better in the States than in Europe, they may have to re-introduce them back over here!
      That image could have been so much better, they were constantly moving so I was shooting bursts but focused on the rear bird with shallow dof, looked good on the back of the camera, in hindsight, sigh!
      Yes great to see Ron in action, super post, but now attacked by a Shrike! Weird.

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    2. The problem is not the egg tray. The chicks need protein-containing food (insects) for the first six weeks of their lives before eating grain. It lacks insects that are destroyed by the Ackergift. Therefore, the hatched chicks starve

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  3. They are such shy and beautiful birds. It seems this tragedy is global. We also do our part, no matter how “small” it may seem. There is no excuse to ignore the issue. Thank you for sharing this beautiful photo.

    Best wishes,
    Takami 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cool picture. Interesting facts and comments on this topic. I wonder how many we have here in The Netherlands? I know Brian is right about the numbers in the MidWest USA, they seem to do better where farmers have encouraged hedge rows. I scare up a few in Minnesota from time to time.

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      1. I have found that the Dutch really try hard to manage nature here. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes not so much. For example the deer populations in the sand dunes are very overpopulated but the animal rights activists in this country won’t allow thinning the herds. In the US we would have a lottery hunt and thin it out so they don’t overload the area.

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