Farmers attract birds with environmental initiatives
Over 1500 farmers took part the seventh annual Big Farmland Bird Count, organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust.
That was a record numbers of farmers participating, who spotted over 120 species across more than half a million hectares.
Highlighting the positive work of farmers and immense conservation value of UK farmland, a total of 25 species from the Red List for Birds of Conservation Concern were recorded during the BFBC in February.
In fact, nine of the top 25 most abundant species seen were on the Red List, including: starlings, fieldfares, lapwings, linnets, redwings, herring gulls, yellowhammers, house sparrows and skylarks.
The five most abundant birds seen (above) were starlings, woodpigeons, rooks, fieldfares and pink-footed geese. A total of 113,729 were spotted, making up over 40% of the total number of birds recorded.
Farmers from every county in England took part, along with records from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The average farm size of those taking part was 375 hectares.
Half of participants were in some form of agri-environment scheme, demonstrating their long-term commitment to environmental management.
Furthermore, nearly 40% of participants were providing some form of extra seed feed for birds, either through growing wild bird seed mixes, such as the Syngenta Bees'n'Seeds mix, or by providing additional feed through scatter feeding or hoppers.
Launched in 2014, the BFBC offers a simple means of recording the effect of any conservation work currently being instigated by farmers and gamekeepers helping to reverse the decline in farmland bird numbers.