As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Farmers spot threatened species in annual bird count

Lucinda Dann
Monday 10 April 2017 5:55
Farmers recorded a total of 112 species in this year’s Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC), including 22 on the list of “threatened” farmland birds.

In the fourth annual count, organised by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), 975 farmers recorded 240,000 birds across 316,996ha.
Conservation concern
Eight species on the Red List for Birds of Conservation Concern, including fieldfare, starling, house sparrow, song thrush and yellowhammer, were among the 25 most abundant birds spotted during the 2017 count.

The most abundant of these, fieldfares and starlings, were seen on more than 40% of farms. Blackbirds and woodpigeons were the most commonly spotted species, seen by more than 80% of participants. 
‘Farmer science’
NFU vice-president Guy Smith said: “It’s great to see, through the GWCT’s Big Farmland Bird Count a good bit of ‘farmer science’ where the people who know farms best – that being the farmers themselves – report back on the birdlife on their farms in a structured way.

“Having taken part in it myself it’s an hour well spent. And it’s great to see the results showing a good response and a wide variety of bird species.”

The GWCT organises the count annually as a simple means of recording the effect of any farmer-led conservation schemes, such as supplementary feeding or growing wild bird seed crops and game cover crops.

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