Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Time to Register for the Big Farmland Bird Count

After a year at the Allerton Project I’m honoured that Farmer Phil  has asked me to do a guest blog!
Phil thanks for the opportunity to tell your readers about the Big Farmland Bird Count. This is an initiative GWCT are running in partnership with LEAF and the FWAG Association.  Much of the good work done by farmers and gamekeepers to help reverse farmland bird decline goes unrecorded. We want to remedy that and help farmers and gamekeepers record the effect of any conservation schemes currently being initiated on their land such as supplementary feeding or growing wild bird seed crops and game cover crops. We recognise that farmland bird numbers have been declining but there are a lot of farmers out there who have been doing a lot of positive work that should be recognised.

Here at the Allerton Project we doubled songbird numbers whilst Phil continued to run a profitable farming business – you read more about how we did it here.

The count will take place between the 1st and 7th February 2014, and we are inviting you to spend about 30 minutes recording the species and number of birds seen on one particular area of the farm. You can choose your own location but somewhere with a good view of around 2 ha of the farm would be ideal. You'll be asked to record the types of habitat and cropping on and adjacent to your count site to help provide us with more detail about your count location. To see the highest number of birds we would recommend that the site includes or is close to an area of game or wild seed mix or somewhere that supplementary feeding takes place.

A pilot scheme in 2013 took in more than 10,000 hectares across 30 farms and recorded 69 species, from tree sparrows and yellowhammer to barn owls, kestrels and buzzards. Phil took part are recorded 18 different species including Reed Bunting, Linnet and Fieldfare.

We have already had nearly 400 farmers register their intention to take part.
A range of organisations such the NFU, CLA, LEAF The FWAG Association, Conservation Grade and Soil Association are encouraging their members to take part.

We want this to become an annual event and for that to happen we need all the support we can get in this first year. It’s a chance for farmers and gamekeepers to shout about what they do and hopefully it will convince others that they can do something to help birds and other wildlife on their farms.

Get involved and show you care!

Find out more and register here

Jim Egan
Head of Training & Development
The Allerton Project

Tel: 07713333159
E-mail jegan@gwct.org.uk
Web www.gwct.org.uk/allerton

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