05 February 2014

Farmland Bird Count is a hit with young and old alike

Three-year old Molly Puzey scatters food for the birds on her parent's sheep farm in Sussex. Photocredit: www.camillaandroly.co.ukThree-year old Molly Puzey is usually up early to help out her mother and father on their sheep farm in Sussex. This week, however, she has a special reason to be out on the farm, as Molly and her parents are among the hundreds of farmers who have been taking part in the Big Farmland Bird Count.

Organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), the week-long count aims to show how the many conservation measures implemented on UK farms are benefitting wild birds. The GWCT hope that this unique survey will provide an unprecedented view of the state of British farmland birds. The count began on Saturday 1 February and runs until Friday 7 February.

Molly's parents Roly and Camilla Puzey run the Saddlescombe Farm, a 450 acre site in the South Downs Natural Park, five miles north of Brighton. Saddlescombe is one of over 900 farms that have registered with the GWCT. Molly helped give the birds extra winter food while her parents carried out the count.

GWCT advisor Jim Egan said, "The GWCT simply wouldn't be able to carry out this survey without the enthusiastic support of farmers like Roly and Camilla - and Molly! When all the data is collated it should give us an invaluable insight into both the birds themselves, and the effectiveness of the conservation measures in place around the country."

Typical measures that are implemented on farmland include providing over-wintering supplementary food, planting wild bird seed mixtures, and maintaining wildlife habitats for nesting and foraging.

The GWCT’s Big Farmland Bird Count is being generously sponsored by BASF and in partnership with FWAG (Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group) and LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming). For more information, please visit the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s website:  www.gwct.org.uk/bfbc

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Photocaption: Three-year old Molly Puzey scatters food for the birds on her parent's sheep farm in Sussex. Photocredit: www.camillaandroly.co.uk


Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. 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.

ISDN radio broadcast line - at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Joel Holt
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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