This time of year (January - March) is commonly known as the hungry gap for farmland birds and is a crucial period for many birds when food is at its scarcest as most of the natural supplies of food have been exhausted so we are regularly supplement feeding wheat screenings. This is the time of year when it is really possible to see the benefits of all of the different measures we take to provide food for the whole array of species we have on the farm. Our hedges are all managed to the rules set out in our environmental stewardship scheme and are either cut on a 2 or 3 year rotation. By cutting hedges at this time of year we are waiting until all of the berries have been eaten and this is evident by the condition of the birds we are catching whilst ringing. We have been finding that the Blackbirds (up to 140g) are carrying a lot of body fat and the Robins and Dunnocks are healthy weights (between 19g and 24g). It was a very good year for fruit in the hedgerows with Blackthorn, Hawthorn proving especially ‘fruitful’. PJB
- The Barker Boys
- Cousins working together on our family owned farm with the aim of running a commercial modern farm producing high yielding, high standard crops while maximising wildlife diversity. Brian is said to be the farmer and conservationist, whereas Patrick is a conservationist and farmer. This mix has given a new direction for the farm, building upon the work that our fathers and grandfather has done to improve the overall success of the farm business. The farm has gone from strength to strength with the farm being recognised at a national level winning the coveted National FWAG’s Silver Lapwing Award for farming and conservation in 2009 and then Patrick and Brian were named Countryside Farmer of the Year by the Farmers Weekly in 2010.