February saw the fifth annual Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC) organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, and sponsored by BASF, with record numbers of participants and species recorded
Over 1000 farmers took part and recorded 121 species across over 950,000 acres. That’s more farmers than in any previous year.
The BFBC was launched in 2014 to highlight the positive work done by farmers and gamekeepers in helping to reverse the decline in farmland bird numbers. The count offers a simple means of recording the effect of any conservation work currently being instigated by farmers and gamekeepers on their land, such as supplementary feeding birds through winter or growing crops specifically to provide seed for birds.
What did farmers see?
The most commonly seen species were blackbirds and woodpigeons, seen by over 80% of our participants. Robins, blue tits, and pheasants were seen by over 70% of the farmers.
At the other end of the scale, we were delighted to see that a total of 25 species from the Red List for Birds of Conservation Concern were recorded, with 5 appearing in the 25 most commonly seen species list: fieldfares, starlings, house sparrows, song thrushes and yellowhammers. The most abundant of these were the first two, which were seen on nearly 40% of the farms taking part.
The five most abundant birds seen were starlings, woodpigeons, fieldfares, rooks and chaffinches. A total of 99,712 were found, making up nearly 50% of the………