Do your bit to help preserve bird species by taking part in this invaluable annual survey
Gamekeepers, farmers and land managers across the country are being asked to pledge their support to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Big Farmland Bird Count.
The GWCT is asking you to spend 30 minutes spotting species on a patch of land between the 5 and 21 February 2021 (the dates have been extended this year due to the cold weather).
At the end of the count the results will be analysed by the GWCT and all participants will receive a report of the findings.
How to take part in the Big Farmland Bird Count
1. Download your count sheet at the BFBC website.
2. Count your birds on a day between 5 and 21 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.
“As custodians of the largest songbird habitat in the country, farmers, land managers and gamekeepers play a crucial role in the survival of the UK’s farmland birds,” says Dr Roger Draycott of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT). “The GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count aims to encourage even more of them to include conservation measures in the daily running of their farm, estate or shoot.”
“Many land managers carry out vital conservation work, largely unseen by the public,” continues Roger. “By taking part in the count year on year, they can see how the conservation work they are doing is having an impact and our scientists can build a picture of the health of the UK’s farmland bird species. The GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count is a very positive way to showcase what can be achieved.”
Enjoyable and beneficial
Chris Broughton, a shoot manager from Somerset, says: “Taking part in the Big Farmland Bird Count is an easy way to provide the GWCT with information relating to the benefits of shooting estate management. It also provides a great excuse to stop and really look at what you have on your patch, record it, and then make plans to improve it. Probably one of the most enjoyable and beneficial half hours of the year.”
Last year more than 1500 land managers take part and the GWCT aims to surpass that number in 2021.
“Farmers and gamekeepers look after 71% of the UK’s countryside, so their commitment to conserving it is vital,” says Roger. “It is brilliant to see so many of them giving up their spare time to record the bird species they see for the GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count.”
Regular count participant Paul Clayworth, from Berwickshire, says “I find the count to be most rewarding as, for the sake of half an hour, you get a real feeling for the good that you’re doing for birdlife on your patch.”
The GWCT advises that as most participants count on their own land, alone or with family members, the count can be safely carried out within COVID restrictions.