Wild game management is not only a sustainable activity it also confers benefits to other species particularly birds that are associated with traditional farming. For many years the plight of farmland birds was largely ignored, only in recent times and through the hard work and dedication of a few people connected with the scientific research and management of wild game birds, has the plight of other non-game species been pushed up the agenda of importance.
Wild game management not only produces surpluses of game birds, benefits occur along every trophic level, even up to the top of the pyramid. The Grey Partridge Conservation project is a good example of this. Linnets, Hares, Field Mice, and Wild Pheasants are common throughout the area under management. Because there is a higher than normal density of Field Mice, Long Eared Owls are very common. Barn Owls and Hen Harriers, Merlin’s, and Kestrels also benefit from the more abundant food supplies.
Most of these birds of prey do not negatively affect the population as a whole. For example, Barn Owls like Kestrels tend to concentrate on Field Mice. Hen Harriers and Sparrow Hawks will predate Grey Partridge, however, with the provision of proper cover, losses can be kept to a minimum.
Wild game management begins with the creation of good habitats for game, good habitats in turn benefit other non-target species. Skylarks and Meadow Pipits nest along with wild grey partridge in the beetle banks and the wild grass strips sown. Other ground nesting species such as Lapwing breed more productively than they would if they bred in conventional farmland. Higher densities of Butterflies and other invertebrates occur in areas managed for wild game. Predation control reduces the effect of artificially higher populations of predators created by modern intensive farming and the changes in social habits. In effect wild game management tilts the balance. A more balanced environment benefits all species.