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Bird Population Study at Le Boquet
Pont-Farcy, Normandy 14380 France

An ornithological project in cooperation with Jean Collette and GONm.

"In 2005 Le Bosquet welcomed 27 different species of bird 'on site' and a further 40 species 'overhead or on adjacent land'. By 2012, Le Bosquet was providing a refuge for 56 species 'on site' and 77 species 'overhead or on adjacent land'. Intelligent land management of five hectares (about 15 acres) over a period of seven years had resulted in a 100 per cent increase in bird diversity."

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Index In 2004 Jean Collette of the Groupe Ornithologique Normand (GONm) kindly agreed to select our tiny farm in the Norman Bocage as a site for a long-term study of its permanent, seasonal and migratory bird population. By carefully noting any changes in the immediate and adjacent environment, we hope that from regular censuses over a period of time we may learn more about our resident and visiting bird populations.

Le Bosquet is a rare remaining example of a small peasant farm typical of the sort that existed throughout the Norman Bocage until around 1950. Situated in a purely agricultural environment, about one kilometre from the nearest village, it is surrounded by farms and smallholdings almost exclusively devoted to dairy cows, widespread maize production and some grain. Le Bosquet's land consists of three hectares (10 acres) of lush pasture encircled by low, medium and tall hedges, all set on sloping land on either side of a small stream. At the centre is a house with various barns and outbuildings. The entire land surface is grazed by sheep, and receives no chemical treatments. The fields, which are rich and acidic, are regularly treated with applications of lime and manure.

Since 2001, the principal changes which might influence the bird population include replacing cows (until 2002) with sheep (in 2003) and a major project to improve much-neglected hedges, encouraging thickness, height and a wider diversity of hedgerow species (predominantly hazel, ash, blackthorn, hawthorn, holly, elder, low-growing elm, oak, willow and wild cherry). A population of free-range poultry (around 35 assorted chickens, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, etc) is maintained all the year round. In most years 3-5 pigs are fattened in the open air from around March to October. There are no resident cats. Three English Springer Spaniel dogs are restricted to a garden area. Although we are not averse to responsible shooting, we have refused shooting at Le Bosquet owing to the indiscriminate habits of our local 'chasseurs'.

We are extremely grateful to Jean 'William' Collette for his constant help, advice and regular visits to compile the census information which appears below. When he began his monthly visits in 2004, we were sufficiently impressed by the numbers of birds he was able to identify. By 2006 we were astonished to find him recording, flora, fauna and fungi in extraordinary detail. "Merci, cher William! Quel travail, quelle diligence, quel bonheur!".

For the fullest information from these censuses, please click on the small graphics to see the detailed analysis and the consistency and frequency statistics for each species.

Explication en français: cliquez sur les petites images pour les voir agrandies et pour y trouver en français:

La 'constance' est le rapport, exprimé en %, entre le nombre de visites où une espèce est notée et le nombre total de visites. Exemple: une espèce vue au cours de la moitié des relevés a une constance de 50%.

La 'fréquence' est le rapport, exprimé en %, entre le nombre d'individus d'une espèce, comptés au cours d'une sortie, et le nombre total d'oiseaux comptés au cours de cette visite. Exemple: 100 oiseaux, toutes espèces confondues, ont été comptés au cours d'une visite. Le merle qui est représenté par exemple par 30 individus, est caractérisé par une fréquence de 30% au cours de cette visite
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Censuses by Jean Collette. Compilation by Christopher Long

Sheep

Anyone interested in birds and the preservation, conservation or protection of their natural environments in the Normandy region should consider joining the Groupe Ornithologique Normand (GONm): 181 Rue d'Auge, 14000 Caen, France. Tel: +33 2 31 43 52 56 Fax: +33 2 31 93 27 07. Email GONm.

Owls At Le Bosquet Slideshow

Owls At Le Bosquet – Helping Barn Owls Establish Themselves On A Small Norman Farm

See: Le Bosquet

See: Other Projects

See: Main Index

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