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Rare birds set to be released in Dickleburgh


By Newsdesk Diss


Rare grey partridges may become a common site in Dickleburgh as a conservation project intends to re-introduce the birds to the area.

Grey partridge. Picture contributed.
Grey partridge. Picture contributed.

Earsham Wetland Centre has reared 100 of the birds and intends to find them a new home at its Dickleburgh Moor, owned by the Otters Trust, and Earsham sites.

Ben Potterton, of the trust, said: "The grey partridge has declined by 80 per cent since 1970 and is a Red List species in the UK.

"We and the trust aims to increase the resident population by captive rearing some birds to boost the wild population."

However, while remaining hopeful about the bird's future, Mr Potterton is also realistic about their chances of survival when in the wild.

"Obviously, some birds will stray on to neighbouring land and be shot, others will die of natural causes or be eaten by predators," he explained.

"If just ten per cent survive until next spring, we will be contributing to the increase in the overall population of this iconic farmland bird."

Earsham Wetland Centre. Imogen Glaysher, Animal Keeper, Michael Rosier, centre manager, and Ben Potterton.....PICTURE: Mecha Morton. .. (3667241)
Earsham Wetland Centre. Imogen Glaysher, Animal Keeper, Michael Rosier, centre manager, and Ben Potterton.....PICTURE: Mecha Morton. .. (3667241)

The trust will also instal winter feeding stations on both of its site to benefit the partridges and other declining bird species, such as the yellowhammer, linnet, house sparrow and reed bunting.

Grey partridges are widely thought to be in decline due to cultivation, loss of breeding habitat and possibly food supplies.

The birds will be released on Dickleburgh Moor, after the trust purchased the site in 2016 with the goal of creating a community nature reserve.

Following two years of monitoring, work will start this autumn on the creation of access paths, tree planting and on new ponds.

Wildlife cameras have also revealed a wealth of species on the site, including resident otters and water voles. The site is of importance for water birds, with a wide range of breeding species.

The grey partridges will also find a home at the Otter Trust's former headquarters.

The Earsham Wetland Centre, near Bungay, is already home to a collection of rare breed farm animals and is currently open daily to visitors.



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