Between the 7th-15th February 2015, the Big Farmland Bird Count 2015 will take place to record the variety of bird species found on British farmland. Last year, more than 500 farmers, managing nearly half a million acres of UK farmland, were involved and 116 species of birds were recorded. This year, even more farmers are signing up to take part, acknowledging vital work done by farmers and gamekeepers in maximising wildlife diversity and helping to reverse the decline in farmland bird numbers.
Despite some bad press for the farming industry regarding pesticide scares, polluted water, TB etc, the vast majority of farmers are trying hard to maintain a healthy range of wildlife species. The BFBC highlights the good work done by farmers and gamekeepers in helping to maintain bird species and helps to record any effect of conservation work on their land. This includes supplementary feeding and the use of wild bird seed mix and game cover crops around field margins and you will see these strips of cover around the edge of many fields as you drive round the UK countryside.
In 2013, eleven Red List species were recorded including fieldfare, corn bunting, grey partridge, house sparrow, lapwing, linnet, skylark, song thrush, tree sparrow and yellow hammer. Twelve different species of raptor were reported which was fantastic as were sightings of great grey shrike, waxwing, twite, lesser spotted woodpecker and the bittern. With this amount of recording it is well worth making this a yearly event with the next count due in February.
For further information or to register your interest with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, please go to http://www.gwct.org.uk/farming/big-farmland-bird-count