Big Farmland Bird Count proves hugely popular

Big Farmland Bird Count proves hugely popular

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The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust's (GWCT) Big Farmland Bird Count has proved extremely popular, with more than 2,000 farmers and gamekeepers having registered for the event that took place between February 7th and 15th.

Participants were invited to download a tick-sheet from the website and then take it into one of their fields for 30 minutes. They then had to simply make a mark against species names any time they saw birds on the land.

Preliminary results showed that 117 different types of birds had been recorded, including Linnets, Yellowhammers, Starlings and Lapwings. In addition, Blackbirds had been spotted on 92 per cent of the farms taking part, which is an encouraging result.

The aim of the project is to find out how conservation efforts are helping to take care of some of Britain's most rapidly declining bird species.

Indeed, the RSPB's UK Farmland Bird Indicator showed a 48 per cent reduction in numbers of the 19 farmland species it monitors between 1970 and 2007. This has been attributed to intensive farming methods, reduction in hedgerows and use of chemical pesticides.

The government launched a commitment to reverse this long-term decline last year, which will no doubt be welcomed by garden birdwatchers too, as farmland acts as a vital green corridor to allow some of our most-loved visitors to pass through and shelter in.

GWCT head of training and development Jim Egan said of the Big Farmland Bird Count: "At this early stage in the count this is a remarkable result, both in terms of the range of species counted as well as the number of red-listed species being seen."

This is the second year that the event has taken place and the full results will be announced later on this month.

Why not get into the citizen science spirit and do a count of the birds in your garden as spring approaches? Just put out some quality food like our Hi-Energy No Mess mixture and see what species you can attract, then record them on your own tick-sheet.