Grab a place on the Big Farmland Bird Count species ID days

With just three months to go until the fourth Big Farmland Bird Count, farmers are being offered the chance to hone their bird-spotting skills.

Organiser the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) is running a series of farmland bird identification days throughout January and February.

The fourth Big Farmland Bird Count will take place from 3-12 February 2017. During that week, farmers across the UK are asked to record and report what species of birds and how many have been sighted on their farm.

See also: Farmers spot 130 species on third farmland bird count

The results provide an indication as to whether farmland bird numbers are in decline on farm or if the conservation efforts of farmers are proving successful.

The GWCT’s Jim Egan said: “If you can’t name every bird you see on your farm, the 20 ID days across the UK can help farmers recognise them.

“With days between 9 January to 3 February the events will be run by a farmland bird expert, along with a host farmer. By the end of the ID day you should be able to recognise the top-20 bird species you can expect to see on your land over the winter period.”

In addition, a colour ID guide is provided to those who attend, with a focus on birds that are harder to identify.

Special offer vouchers for seed mixes provided by Syngenta, Kings, BASF and Limagrain will be given to each participant.

Last year, nearly 1,000 farmers took part in the survey, recording 130 species of birds across approximately 364,000ha.

This year, organisers say they are aiming to at least double the number of people taking part.

For a list of the 17 farmland details ID days, including details how to sign up, visit the GWCT website.