GWCT’s Big Farmland Bird Count set to begin

GWCT is launching its Big Farmland Bird Count. Picture: GWCT

GWCT is launching its Big Farmland Bird Count. Picture: GWCT - Credit: Archant

The Big Farmland Bird Count is set to begin this week.

The annual event, which is run by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), involves farmers, landowners and gamekeepers putting aside 30 minutes between Friday, February 9 and Sunday, February 18, and counting up how many birds they see.

Founder Jim Egan said he was hoping for a big turnout. “Not everyone appreciates the extent to which farmers and keepers are managing existing habitats and creating new ones specifically to help our farmland birds. Now is the time to change all that,” he said.

Guy Smith, vice president of National Farmers’ Union (NFU), said the count provided farmers with a “great opportunity” to show they are fully engaged with conservation.

“I would encourage as many farmers as possible to get the binoculars out, dust off the notepad, sharpen the pencil and get recording as you go out and about on the farm,” he said.

Last year, 970 farmers and keepers took part and recorded 112 species across 900,000 acres.

The count aims to help farmers and keepers build a record of birds on their farm so they can, where necessary, target their conservation work.

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