Farmers needed for Big Farmland Bird Count

Farmers are being encouraged to take part in this year’s Big Farmland Bird Count by spending half an hour recording the birds they see on their land.

The annual count takes place from 5-14 February and is run by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The important initiative is a simple way of recording the effect of conservation schemes run by farmers and gamekeepers on their land, such as supplementary feeding or growing wild bird seed crops and game cover crops.

See also: Environment Land Management scheme – what we know so far

Cambridgeshire farmer Tom Martin said: “It really helps me not only to recognise the amazing birds and wildlife I have around me on the farm, but I can also measure the effect our conservation efforts are having on those bird species – both in the number of different species and in the number of birds of each species.

“It is a fantastic initiative and I thoroughly recommend you take part.”

The 2020 Big Farmland Bird Count saw record numbers of people joining in – over 1,500 participants recorded more than 120 species across 0.56m hecatres.

Last year’s event also saw more counts returned by groups of farmers working together on conservation projects, providing species data at a wider landscape level, as well as at individual farm level.

NFU president Minette Batters said: “The Big Farmland Bird Count is always a fantastic way for farmers to record the birdlife found on their farms.

“I am pleased that the NFU is able to sponsor this event, and I would encourage all farmers to take part so we can again pull together a vital national snapshot of the state of the nation’s farmland birds.”

How to take part

As most participants count alone or with family members, outside, the Big Farmland Bird Count can be safely carried out within Covid-secure guidelines. Species guides, including short videos, will be available at www.bfbc.org.uk.

  1. Download your count sheet from the BFBC website.
  2. Count your birds. On a day between 5 and 14 February, spend about 30 minutes recording the species and number of birds seen on one particular area of the farm.
  3. Once you’ve completed your count,  submit your results at online.
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