by Jim Egan, Head of Development & Training for the GWCT Allerton Project
Plans are already well underway for the 2016 Big Farmland Bird Count and we are hoping to get even more farmers, gamekeepers and landowners out with their binoculars and notepads to record the birds on their farms. The count will take place from 6-14 February.
What will be different for 2016?
The principle – spending 30 minutes counting birds on one area of the farm – hasn’t changed, but we are working on how we can provide feedback to everyone who takes part, including a brief report outlining what birds have been seen and providing some simple tips on how to provide more help for those birds throughout the year.
Will there be any help?
In 2015 we ran 12 Farmland Bird Identification Days aimed at helping people identify those “little brown jobs” that hide in the hedge bottom. The response was fantastic, so we are looking to run 20 events across the country in January 2016. Details will be confirmed on 14th December, but you can register for more information here.
Why should I take part?
In 2015 over 1000 people took part, spotting 126 different species living on farmland. These results helped to promote the great work that many of you do to support birds through the winter.
We appeared on over 60 local and regional radio stations to talk about farmers providing wild seed mixes, managing hedges, woodland, field margins and field corners for wildlife whilst working hard in the middle of fields to produce the food we need.
Take part in 2016 and hopefully we’ll be able to shout even louder about the great work you all do.
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Our sponsors BASF have already confirmed their support for 2016 and the NFU, CLA, the FWAG Association and LEAF are ready to help promote the count.
So let’s see if we can get over 5,000 people taking part. Get your binoculars and notepads ready to take part take part in February 2016, it only takes 30 minutes to count and show you care.