Get out for the count

A farmland version of the Big Garden Birdwatch is in full swing

by webmaster

Farmers and landowners sought as the farmland version of the Big Garden Birdwatch celebrates its 10th anniversary

While many of us love our feathered friends and diligently hang our garden feeders in the winter time, it’s Britain’s farmers who truly live alongside our wild birds. So who better to make sure our precious and much-loved wildlife survive for generations to come?

This February The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is once again encouraging all farmers and land owners to take half an hour to record the wild birds that share their fields and woodlands as part of the 10th GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count.

Land managers look after 72 percent of the UK’s land area, the largest songbird habitat in the country, so they can make a real and immediate difference by adopting effective conservation measures. The count therefore offers a vital national snapshot of the health of the UK’s farmland birdlife. And by having a much better understanding of which species are thriving and which are struggling, farmers will be able to adapt their conservation efforts and land management accordingly.

Joe Stanley, of the GWCT, officially launched the annual nationwide bird survey on on the 3rd February. “It’s a fantastic initiative which gives farmers and land managers a simple way of recording the effect of any conservation work they may have undertaken on their land,” says Joe.

The RSPB are also fully behind the campaign, as Mark Nowers from the charity explains. “The GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count is a great opportunity to take stock of the birds on farms.

“Species like yellowhammer, corn bunting and linnet (pictured) are heavily reliant on the stewardship of farmers for their populations to thrive,” commented Mark. “I hope that whatever is seen acts as a trigger for farmers to think, 'how can I get more of these on my farm?'”
If you are a farmer or landowner, it’s not too late to get involved. Just pick one day before the 19th February, download a count sheet from and spend 30 minutes recording the number and species of birds seen on one area of land. Then submit your results via the website

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