Farmers are doing their bit for our birds

The results show the great work that many farmers undertake to support birds like the lapwing.
The results show the great work that many farmers undertake to support birds like the lapwing.

Since 2008 Scotland’s index of farmland bird numbers has fallen. But many farmers are bucking the trend, making great efforts to give bed and breakfast to hungry songbirds.

By taking part in the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust Big Farmland Bird Count, which takes place between February 6-14, farmers in the Borders can begin to show the value of their efforts.

Dr Dave Parish, Senior Scientist, Scottish Lowland Research, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, said: “The more people who count the better idea we have as to how our farmland birds are faring, so I urge farmers to take part.

“Once again we are asking farmers, landowners, birdwatchers and gamekeepers to spend 30 minutes recording the species and number of birds seen on one particular area of the farm this coming winter.”

The 2015 results were impressive; nearly a thousand farmers took part, counting birds across nearly a million farmed acres in the UK. The results show the great work that many farmers undertake to support birds with 127 different species spotted, including those of conservation concern such as starlings, lapwings and tree sparrows.

Dave Parish added: “It’s now time to do it all again and this time we’re offering more help on how to identify those tricky little brown jobs including a downloadable ID guide to take out into the field.”

For those interested in taking part in the 2016 Big Farmland Bird Count, there is a simple recording sheet downloadable from the GWCT website to record sightings. Participants will then be able to fill in their results on a dedicated web page.

GWCT also introduced bird identification days for those wishing to take part in the count but were unsure how to identify some species.