In just over two weeks, hundreds of farmers from across the country will be taking part in the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trustâ€™s (GWCT) Big Farmland Bird Count.Jim Egan, from the GWCTâ€™s Allerton Project, said, â€œThe response to our Big Farmland Bird Count, which takes place on the 1 â€“ 7th February, has been remarkable and we are thrilled that so many farmers have signed up to take part. We are also delighted that the count is being backed by many important farming organisations such as LEAF, FWAG, NFU, CLA, the Soil Association, Conservation Grade plus many others who are supporting this important initiative by encouraging their members to take part.â€
As an added incentive to join the count, the GWCT will be running a special photo competition alongside the count and entrants could win one of two fantastic prizes donated by the sponsors Kings and BASF.
The competition is open to everyone who is taking part in the Big Farmland Bird Count and simply involves taking a photo within the areas of the farm where the counting is taking place, showing either, birds, wildlife crops or just a beautiful area of the farm.
The GWCT will then publish the 10 best photos on its Big Farmland Bird Count blog and visitors will be able to vote for their favourite image.
The first prize in the Big Farmland Bird Count photo competition is 2 hectares of wild bird seed mix plus a free half day advisory visit, both of which are being kindly donated by Kings Game Cover and Conservation Crops.
The second prize, kindly donated by BASF is an Apple iPad Mini tablet worth Â£250.
Jim Egan says, â€œJoining the Big Farmland Bird Count is a fantastic way of showing how conservation measures being implemented on a farm such as offering extra grain seeds during winter or growing wild bird seed crops are boosting bird numbers. The count will also help people to discover the different range of birds that are on their farms. Very often just looking for a few moments can reveal some surprising results. Our hope is that it will spur people on to do even more work for their farmland birds and will act as a catalyst for them to start building their own long-standing wildlife records.â€
For those keen to join the national Big Farmland Bird Count, the GWCT is providing a simple tick sheet that can be downloaded and taken into the field to record sightings. Participants will then be able to send the results either via a dedicated web page or through the post.