Records Smashed in 2019 Big Farmland Bird Count

A FANTASTIC effort from farmers have helped secure a best-ever year for the Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC).

Results show 1,400 people – a 40% increase on last year – recorded 140 species over 1 million acres in the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) initiative which took place between February 8th to 17th.

Encouragingly, a total of 30 red-listed species were recorded, with 5 appearing in the most-commonly seen species list. These included fieldfares, starlings, house sparrows, yellowhammers and song thrushes, with the first four seen by over 30% of the farms taking part.

The five most abundant birds seen were woodpigeons, starlings, lapwings, black-headed gulls and rooks. A total of 148,661 were found, making up nearly 50% of the total number of birds recorded.

“It’s brilliant to see an increase in the number of participants,” said Jim Egan, who has co-ordinated the count for the past six years.

“I’m particularly pleased by the way the facilitation funds and farmer clusters have worked together to embrace this across a landscape scale.

“The fact that in, many cases, farmers and birders have worked together and inspired each other shows the power of sharing our skills and knowledge.  A huge congratulations to everyone involved.”

The average farm size of those taking part was 739 acres, with 66% growing arable crops, 52% having beef or sheep, and 13% growing field vegetables. There were also dairy farms, horticulture units, poultry producers and pig producers submitting counts.

The survey areas included important environmental features such as hedges, woodland ponds, grass margins, ditches and trees.

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