9/1/2017

Technology flies to the rescue of our precious farmland birds

We're taking the Big Farmland Bird Count to a completely new level in February 2017 by adding a unique software programme that makes it easier for farmers to record and access their precious long-term farmland bird data.

Agrantec Screen Grab

Jim Egan from the GWCT sees this as a huge advancement and very exciting for all future wildlife surveys.  He said, “The NotaZone software, developed by Bristol-based Agrantec, means that for the first time, farmers and those taking part in the survey will have access to their own personal long-term record on the birds they have counted on their land.  It also means that in future years they will be able to monitor trends, giving them a better understanding of what conservation measures they need to implement to help their farmland birds. We are really thrilled with this innovation and feel that it will help farmers to become even more engaged in looking after their farmland birds in the future.”

NotaZone was originally developed as a record-keeping and information management tool for farmers and food processors and has been specially adapted for this important annual farmland bird count.

The new software (which is free to all those taking part and works on smartphones, laptops and desktops), also enables users to access detailed hints and tips on the specialised conservation needs of individual bird species.  More detailed information sheets on 60 different species will also be available to all those taking part in the 2017 BFBC.

Jim Egan said, “Having immediate feedback through the software means that land managers can make really targeted changes to help their threatened birds, such as putting up nest boxes in the right place, providing over-winter feeding sites or creating ideal nesting conditions.”

Martin Coates, CEO of Agrantec, which has adapted the NotaZone software with the GWCT, said,  “This is very much a collaborative project, that aims to make data collection and the sharing of this information  more focused, efficient and permanent.  Farmers will have complete ownership of their data, enabling them to build their own long-term record of their achievements. In the world of wildlife surveys, this is very unusual.  Over time they will capture invaluable historical data on what is working, and how conservation efforts can be improved or adapted. This can then be easily shared with others who wish to innovate for the benefit of their birds.”

The GWCT’s Big Farmland Bird Count will take place between Friday 3rd February and Sunday 12th February 2017.  All those registering to take part will have free access to the NotaZone software tool enabling them to start building their own personal record.

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GWCT’s Big Farmland Bird Count is generously sponsored by BASF and delivered in partnership with the FWAG Association, LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), NFU and CLA.

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