Farmers being asked to count the birds

Farmers can help ensure the survival of farmland bird species such as the yellowhammer.
Farmers can help ensure the survival of farmland bird species such as the yellowhammer.

The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has announced that the fourth Big Farmland Bird Count will take place from February 3-12, 2017.

During that week, farmers are asked to record and report what species of birds and how many have been sighted on their farm.

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

On their land, farmers and gamekeepers are responsible for managing the largest songbird habitat in this country, but often their efforts to reverse bird declines are unrecorded. The Big Farmland Bird Count gives them an opportunity of showing what their conservation efforts deliver on the ground.

This year, for the first time, participants in the count will be able to use the latest technology to log their sightings. A platform will be available to those who register, which can be accessed via a computer, or can be downloaded as an App. Once registered, participants will be able to upload their results, access species information and view their records. At the end of the count, the GWCT will be able to collate the national results efficiently and accurately.

Jim Egan, of the GWCT said: “We need to help farmers and gamekeepers ensure the future survival of many farmland bird species such as skylark, yellowhammer, corn buntings and fieldfare. To help them recognise these birds and more, we will be holding a series of farmland bird ID days run by a farmland bird expert, alongside a host farmer, and we would hope that participants would be able to recognise the top 20 bird species likely to be seen on farmland over winter.

Farmers wanting to register for the Big Farmland Bird Count should visit www.gwct.org.uk/bfbc