FARMERS and gamekeepers have been reminded that the Big Farmland Bird Count is back for the fifth year running.

THE Big Farmland Bird Count is back for the fifth year running.

Organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) it runs from Friday, February 9, to Sunday, February 18.

Farmers, land managers and gamekeepers are being urged to take part in the count which takes just 30 minutes.

Founder Jim Egan said: “A great number of farmers and keepers are doing tremendous work to boost farmland birds and other wildlife.

“As well as planting seed mixes to provide winter feed, they also leave weedy stubbles over-winter, manage hedgerows so as to leave berries for food, and supplement this by putting out mixed seeds and grain on tracks and field margins.”

Guy Smith, NFU vice-president, said: “This year’s Big Farmland Bird Count provides farmers with another great opportunity to show that we are fully engaged with conservation.

“I would encourage as many farmers as possible to get the binoculars out, dust off the notepad, sharpen the pencil and get recording as you go out and about on the farm.”

Last year, 970 farmers and keepers took part and recorded 112 species across 900,000 acres.

They recorded 22 Red List species including fieldfare, tree sparrow, starling, yellowhammer and song thrush.

There were woodpigeon, woodpecker, pheasant and grey partridge recorded.

To take part, download a count sheet at on a day between Friday, February 9, and Sunday, February 18, spend about 30 minutes recording the species and number of birds seen on one particular area of the farm, and then submit the results at

At the end of the count, the results will be analysed by the trust.

All participants will receive a report on the national results once they have been collated.