PARTRIDGE, Perdix cinerea
Although not to be numbered as ranking among the Partridge counties, owing to the comparative scarcity of cornfields and its generally “mountain” character, Pembrokeshire, nevertheless, seems to be well adapted to this well-known and favourite bird, and in the southern districts, notably on Lord Cawdor’s estates in the parishes of Castle Martin, &c, it is fairly plentiful, and very good bags are made.
In good seasons, such as the Jubilee year, for instance, it is also sometimes abundant in the wilder parts of the county, and we have had excellent sport. In hard winters, when snow lies long upon the ground, great numbers of Partridges perish. Many are starved and frozen, and many more fall victims to vermin that can then more easily discover them, and we have found their remains lying about the fields.
A wet June, when there are frequent thunderstorms, is also disastrous, as then the young broods perish almost to a bird, and the sportsman will find the fields bare of coveys when September comes. We have had our own stock reduced to almost a vanishing point, but a couple of good seasons will work like magic; the birds seem to spring up again from nowhere, and plenty of employment is again provided for setters and breech-loaders.
Owing to the quantity of furze and other rough cover, the Pembrokeshire partridges, in the north of the county especially, suffer little at the hands of poachers, as it is almost impossible to take them with nets.