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Conservationist group to restore habitats for endangered birds and wildlife

02 November 2017

BIRDS on the Edge will plant and restore a kilometre of hedges with the help of local farmers and landowners, to help endangered birds and other local wildlife, thanks to a donation by The Channel Islands Co-operative Society.The Society led the way in recycling in 2008 by levying a 5p charge on one-trip carrier bags. The proceeds from those sales go into The Co-operative Eco-Fund and are then distributed to environmental projects across the islands.

The project has received £2,000 from the Society’s Eco-Fund and will allow Birds on the Edge to buy enough trees to plant and restore the hedges, which will provide a home and food for endangered birds, insects and most of Jersey’s wild creatures.

‘Birds on the Edge is a fantastic project rebuilding natural habitats for our endangered birds and other wildlife. It’s great to see local farmers and landowners working together with Birds on the Edge to carry out this important work. I hope the funds will go a long way in securing a more stable future for the island’s wildlife and I look forward to seeing the results,’ said the Society’s Membership & Community Manager, Katey White.

‘The hedges will be planted in a joint effort with local farmers and landowners, and will comprise of a variety of native trees and shrub species. The purpose is to create linear living structures which will provide many advantages to our local wildlife,’ said Cristina Sellares, project officer for Birds on the Edge.

‘The hedges will be planted at strategic sites in farmland where special crops are grown every year to benefit endangered birds. These so-called 'winter-bird crops’ provide birds with seeds and grains throughout the winters, in an ongoing scheme supported by previous funding from the Eco-Fund. The hedges will enhance the value of these crops for the birds, as they will allow them to shelter and rest in between feeds.’

The advantages of planting hedges will provide shelter from predators and bad weather and material to build nests for endangered birds, as well as food in the form of buds and berries. The hedges will also provide food for pollinating insects, with flowers from various species of plants.

Due to the hedges being placed at strategic sites, natural corridors are created which link important habitats that wildlife such as, red squirrels, hedgehogs, voles, field mice, slow worms, green lizards, newts and even bats, toads and grass snakes, can use to move safely across the island.

The project will involve planting approximately 1,000 metres of double-sided hedging at farmland conservation sites across the island. A combination of farm staff, conservation and corporate volunteers will help with the planting of the hedges. The project will also include monitoring the growth and health of the planted hedges, as well as producing progress reports and maintenance recommendations. Research will be carried out and data collected on the bird species and abundance of crops throughout the winter to monitor their progress.

‘This work is incredibly important because most of the British wildlife is either declining or under threat, mainly due to the loss of habitats. Some of Jersey’s birds have already disappeared, such as the Yellowhammer, and others are down to single figures. The most effective way to slow down their declines and help the populations recover is to restore the habitats that they need most, such as hedgerows,’ said Mrs Sellares.

(Photo: Katey White, Membership and Community Manager from The Channel Islands Co-operative Society and Cristina Sellares, project officer for Birds on the Edge).