Big Farmland Bird Count sees more farmers involved
Over 1,800 farmers took part in the Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC) earlier this year, and recorded more than 130 species across more than a million hectares.
The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, that has orgainsed annual the count since 2014, reported more farmers were involved than in any previous year.
The BFBC was launched to highlight the positive work done by farmers and gamekeepers in helping to reverse the decline in farmland bird numbers.
The count offers a simple means of recording the effect of conservation work currently being instigated by farmers on their land, such as feeding birds through winter or growing crops specifically to provide seed for birds.
The most commonly seen species were blackbirds and robins, seen by over 75% of our participants. Woodpigeons, blue tits and pheasants were seen by over 65% of the farmers.
The BFBC reported 25 species from the Red List for Birds of Conservation Concern recorded, with eight Red List species appearing in the 25 most frequently seen list.
Starlings, fieldfare, lapwing and linnet were the four most abundant red-listed species recorded, with over 112,000 total spotted, which equates to 22% of all species spotted.
Farmers from every county in England took part. Norfolk had the most returns, with 189 farmers completing the survey. This was followed by Lincolnshire with 131, North Yorkshire with 130, and Hampshire with 118.
The average farm size of those taking part was just over 400 hectares, with 48% of participants are in some form of agri-environment scheme - demonstrating their long-term commitment to environmental management.
Around 40% of participants were providing some form of extra seed feed for birds, either through growing wild bird seed mixes, such as the Operation Pollinator Bees’n’Seeds, or by providing additional grain through scatter feeding or via hoppers.