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    • The third Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC) will take place between the 6th and 14th February 2016, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) announced today.

      Launching this now annual event, GWCT’s Jim Egan said “more people than ever took part in last year’s count. The more people who count the better idea we have as to how our farmland birds are faring, so I urge farmers to get out and count!” 

      “Once again we are asking farmers, landowners, birdwatchers and gamekeepers to spend 30 minutes recording the species and number of birds seen on one particular area of the farm this coming winter.”

      2015’s results were impressive; nearly one thousand farmers took part, counting birds across nearly a million farmed acres. The results show the great work that many farmers under-take to support birds with 127 different species spotted, including those of conservation concern such as Starlings, Lapwings and Tree sparrows.

      Yellowhammers will readily use seed rich habitats such as wild bird mixtures through the winter months.  Photo by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

      Jim Egan continues, “It’s now time to do it all again and this time we’re offering more help on how to identify those tricky “little brown jobs” (LBJ’s), including a downloadable ID guide to take out into the field.”

      For those interested in taking part in the 2016 Big Farmland Bird Count, there is a simple recording sheet that can be downloaded from the GWCT’s website to record sightings. Participants will then be able to fill in their results on a dedicated web page.

      Last year we introduced identification days for those wishing to take part in the count but were unsure how to identify some species from others.  Such was the popularity of these events that 17 more farmland bird identification training days are being organised for January and February 2016 at locations across the UK.

      The ID days are designed to help participants improve their identification skills ahead of the count. Each session is run by an expert and will last for approximately two and half hours. At the end of the training participants should be able to recognise the top 24 bird species likely to be seen on farmland this coming winter.

      If you took part last year then this is chance to take part again and see how numbers have changed. If you didn’t take part last year then this is your chance to find out what species are around!

      From GWCT’s pioneering research at the Allerton Project over the past 23 years we know what’s needed to help farmland birds. Hopefully taking part in the count will help demonstrate how simple practical measures can increase farmland bird numbers.

      Those who take part and submit their fully completed forms have the chance to win a pair of SLC 8x42 binoculars worth over £1,300, which have been donated by Swarovski Optic.

      The GWCT’s Big Farmland Bird Count has captured the imagination of all those interested in the future of farmland birds. Sponsored by BASF, the count is run in partnership with the FWAG Association, LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), the NFU and the CLA. The count also receives support from RSPB, Kings, Waitrose, Soil Association, Heather Trust, Conservation Grade, Songbird Survival and Countryside Alliance.

      To sign up to our Bird Identification Days being held in 18 locations across the country, or to download count forms, please visit: www.gwct.org.uk/BFBC or telephone: 01425 651000

       

      Dates for the GWCT Bird Identification Days:

      County

      Event Lead Organisation

      Event  Date

      Hampshire

      GWCT

      27.01.16

      South Downs

      RSPB

      26.01.16

      Wiltshire

      GWCT

      20.01.16

      Somerset

      South West FWAG

      27.01.16

      Dorset

      South West FWAG

      04.02.16

      Worcestershire

      GWCT

      02.02.16

      Shropshire

      Seabridge Associates (West Midlands FWAG)

      03.02.16

      Norfolk

      Norfolk FWAG

      02.02.16

      Suffolk

      Suffolk FWAG

      03.02.16

      Essex

      FWAG East

      04.02.16

      Cambridgeshire

      GWCT / RSPB

      29.01.16

      Lincolnshire

      Notts FWAG

      25.01.16

      North Yorkshire

      Fraser Hugill / RSPB

      21.01.16

      North Yorkshire

      Nidderdale AONB

      22.01.16

      Vale of Glamorgan

      GWCT

      05.02.16

      Kinross - Shire

      GWCT

      05.02.16

      Northern Ireland

      RSPB

      26.01.16