Heather (well, Ling actually) burning
The heather on the moors is burnt in early spring in carefully controlled fires. For wild birds there are pros and cons in relation to this management practice which is used to create the optimum habitat for Red Grouse. Many species of birds benefit like the grouse from the patchwork of different ages of heather that are created. The heather is burnt in irregular shapes with "wobbly" boundaries. Work has shown that most wild birds benefit from the increased invertebrate diversity from the increase in micro-habitats. The moor is also better protected from uncontrolled fire. However, there is a tendancy to remove the old heather completely and this removes the preferred nest sites of Merlin and Hen Harrier. On the North Yorks Moors Merlins have found alternative sites fairly easily. No Hen Harriers have bred for some years now.