Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Guest blog: Big Farmland Bird Count 2015 – be proud, be loud, be heard

by Annabel Shackleton, Open Farm Sunday Manager for LEAF

You’ve spotted, recorded, brushed down your binoculars and sent your results to the guys at GWCT. Big Farmland Bird Count 2015 is over for another year. Early results look to be really positive – not only in terms of the number of farmers taking part this year but with reported sightings of some 117 species including some 14 at risk species – including lapwing, starling, yellowhammer and linnet.  Farmers should feel really proud of these preliminary results and I am sure when final figures are announced in the next few weeks, we are likely to see some more remarkable findings.

The Big Farmland Bird Count is a fantastic example of the power of positive news. It serves as a hugely valuable demonstration of the impact farmers conservation work is having on the state of farmland birds in the UK. It is also a great way for farmers to showcase what they are doing on the ground to protect wildlife on their farms. But when all the data has been gathered, the numbers crunched and results trumpeted, there’s an absolutely vital next step. And that is getting the general public to understand what farmers are doing all year round to care for our precious bird species.  Open Farm Sunday is just such a vehicle for reaching out to the public, sharing with them what farmers do to produce our food as well as fanfaring all the work they do for farmland birds. Open Farm Sunday means that people can see for themselves the vital role farmer’s play in managing our countryside and safeguarding all its wonderful wildlife.

It is only by getting people to see for themselves what farmers are doing as food producers and custodians of the countryside that they will come to really understand the connections between the food they eat and the countryside around them.

So be proud of what you do for farmland birds. Shout about your commitment to conservation and get involved in this year’s Open Farm Sunday. It is up to you what size and type of event you choose – whether it is a simple farm walk for friends and neighbours or a larger event for your local community. Every event matters and every farmer’s reasons for opening up will differ. But what unties them all is their desire to reach out to their local communities and show people what they do and why farming matters. 

Open Farm Sunday takes place on the 7th June. LEAF offers lots of free help and resources to help you organise and publicise your event. Click here to register your event or to find out more, come along to one our FREE Information Events taking place over the next few months.

The Allerton Project team have started planning already so watch this space for more information.

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