17 December 2014

Farmers urged to support the 2015 Big Farmland Bird Count

A goldfinch was ringed during the GWCT’s first Bird ID day held on a farm in Suffolk earlier this month. GAME & Wildlife Conservation Trust is urging Scottish farmers to take part in a nationwide survey of our farmland birds and to boost its success has arranged a series of bird identification days.

Going into its second year, the Big Farmland Bird Count will take place between 7th and 15th February, with 10 bird identification training days being held across the country next month, including one at Whitburgh in Midlothian on Tuesday 27 January.

The 2015 Big Farmland Bird Count is being run in partnership with LEAF and the FWAG Association and together with the ID days is generously sponsored by industry partner BASF. Graham Hartwell, BASF’s environmental stewardship manager said:

“BASF are delighted to support the GWCT and the 2015 count. It is a fantastic opportunity to show how modern farming can support a vibrant and healthy countryside by applying simple targeted methods. I would urge everyone involved in managing our countryside to take part in the 2015 Big Farmland Bird Count.”

The Whitburgh ID day, which will last for 2 ½ hours, will be run by GWCT’s senior lowground researcher Dr Dave Parish. As places will be limited, people need to book in advance online at www.gwc.org.uk/BFBC. A free bird identification guide will be available on the ID days as well as being available on the GWCT website. Illustrations for the guide have been kindly provided by the RSPB.

Dr Parish outlined the significance of the count: “This is an important count scheme which will hopefully provide data to help our research into farmland birds, especially those in decline, and create a picture of national populations. The ID day at Whitburgh will help people to recognise the birds on their land and I would urge farmers and others to get involved and take part. Knowledge is vital so that we can more accurately target farmland bird recovery and what better way to glean that knowledge than to involve those that work on the land.”

To take part in the actual count, farmers need to just spend half an hour in a specific part of the farm, and complete the count form which can be downloaded from the GWCT’s website at: www.gwct.org.uk/bfbc.


Photocaption: A goldfinch was ringed during the GWCT’s first Bird ID day held on a farm in Suffolk earlier this month. 

Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is an independent wildlife conservation charity which carries out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

For information, contact:

Playfair Walker
Telephone: 0131 445 5570
Email: richard@playfairwalker.com

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