The fourth annual Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC) was held in February 2017. The event brought in record numbers of visitors who took part – some from as far away as Austria.
Who participated in the Big Farmland Bird Count?
With over 970 different farmers, 112 different species were recorded across 900,000 different acres of land.
What was seen during the Big Farmland Bird Count?
Two of the most commonly seen species were blackbirds and wood pigeons. Those two species were seen by over 80% of participants. Other species, seen by over half the participants, were carrion crows, robins, and blue tits.
The Red List is a list of birds that are listed under Conservation Concern. One of the biggest things that impressed everyone was that twenty-two species on the Red List were spotted in these areas. Five of them were recorded on the commonly seen list. They include song thrushes, starlings, house sparrows, and fieldfares.
With over 104,000 different birds sighted and recorded from the Red List, this made up close to half of all the birds sighted for the entire event. Seeing them in such large numbers during the event was a good thing.
Who took part in the Big Farmland Bird Count?
There are many types of farms participating in this event. The average farm size of those who took part averaged around 959 acres. Over half of the farms grew crops, and close to half raised livestock. There were also dairy farms, poultry farms, horticulture units, and a wide range of others. Those involved wanted to show their long-term commitment to environmental management.
Just under half the farm participants offered extra seed for the birds, whether they were wild bird seed mixes or grain through scatter feeders. The rest simply enjoyed watching as the birds came to their farms.
Where were the participating farmers from?
They were located in many different areas. There were farmers from every county in England, as well as Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. Austria also had farmers who wanted to take part. The top volunteers include those from Suffolk, Norfolk, Herefordshire, and Yorkshire.
Where did they count?
They surveyed areas that have many environmental features. These features included ponds, woodlands, hedges, grass, ditches, trees, and other features. Taken together, they provided a variety of different lands in which birds could be found.
Training was provided to participants
In order to be successful at recognizing and identifying the birds, training was provided to those who wanted to take part. They learned about the many different bird species and were taught ways to identify them.
When’s the next Big Farmland Bird Count?
Planning for the 2018 BFBC is currently underway. It is set to take place in February of 2018. With planning for next year already proceeding, it is expected to bring in even more participants who want to identify the various bird species inhabiting their lands. The goal is to reach 1,000 or more participants.
Due to of the large turnout for this year, it’s clear that the 2017 BFBC was a great success!