A few brief notes about the Linnet and how they - and many other farmland species - could be helped but don't seem to be.
Linnets. John Bateman.
The Linnet - a widespread though declining species in Great Britain - is referred to in our area as fairly common but scarce in winter. In Oakes day in Lancashire he considered it to be a common and widespread resident, particularly abundant on the coastal plains both north and south of the Ribble. Today there are many aspects of the status of the Linnet which remain unclear including the breeding status since the 1970's. The bird is recorded in most of GB but not in the Highlands of Scotland, Shetland, and large parts of the Hebrides. Many Linnets remain around the breeding sites throughout the winter, whilst others undertake extensive movements to winter as far south as Gibraltar.
The Linnet is a bird with the need for shrubby vegetation to provide safe communal roosting sites and for seeds which can be collected either in low-growing shrubs, herbaceous vegetation, or on the ground. The dependence of the Linnet on seeds has left them vulnerable to the effects of intensive agricultural intensification. But there is a great deal of confusion in the reasons behind the decline of the Linnet population and one of many suggestions is that hedgerow management - how tidy they all are when trimmed down to size - could play a large part in that nests are much less concealed and therefore more prone to predation.
Set-aside at Cockersands. Pete Woodruff.
One thing for sure is that the almost tiny set-aside at Cockersands developed last summer - when I took the photograph above - has proved beyond doubt the importance of this kind of exercise. This small area of winter seed was initially taken up by Greenfinch and Linnet in mid October 2010 and a count of in excess of 100 birds was made by me on 15 November since which at least 70 Linnets have remained to this day whilst curiously the Greenfinch deserted the area completely.
So, can we have some more set-aside please, more to the point....why haven't we!