Farmers and landowners gear up for February’s Big Farmland Bird Count

A yellowhammer in a hedgerow Picture: P THOMPSON

A yellowhammer in a hedgerow Picture: P THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

An annual farmland bird count is set to take place across the UK this February.

The 2019 GWCT (Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust) Big Farmland Bird Count, now in its sixth year, involves farmers, land managers and gamekeepers spending 30 minutes spotting species on their patch of land between February 8 and 17.

The results will aim to distinguish which farmland birds are thriving due to good conservation efforts while identifying the ones in need of most help.

GWCT biodiversity adviser Peter Thompson said: “Many, many farmers do lots on their farms to encourage wildlife, but when I give talks to the public, they always seem most surprised that this is the case.”

Last-year saw a record-breaking 1,000 people take part in the count, recording 121 species across 950,000 acres. A total of 25 red-listed species were recorded, with five appearing in the 25 most commonly seen species list.