The 2024 Big Farmland Bird Count is underway, running from February 2 to 18, inviting farmers and landowners to participate in documenting the avian diversity on their land.

Last year, over 460,000 birds from 149 species were counted across 1.5mil acres of farmland. Results from this year's count are expected to be published in the spring, offering valuable insights into the level of farmland bird populations.

Around 60 attendees gathered for the 2024 launch on February 2, marking a decade since the initial count began at Lodge Farm in Suffolk, hosted by the Barker family.

Representatives from the RSPB, NFU, Wildlife Trusts, and governmental bodies, joined with farmers, emphasising the significance of this collaborative effort.

During the launch, participants enjoyed a brisk farmland walk, witnessing the diverse birdlife supported by measures such as winter feeding, hedgerow management, wild bird seed plots, and enhanced field margins.

Bird specialist Mark Nowers from the RSPB highlighted sightings of yellowhammers among other bird species, underscoring the importance of habitat conservation.

Dr Roger Draycott of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust explained how the data collected can inform conservation efforts, while hedgerow experts and agronomy specialists provided additional insights.

Founder Jim Egan reflected on the establishment of the Big Farmland Bird Count, urging farmers to get involved: “Please don’t be scared. Even if you think ‘I don’t know my birds well enough’, don’t worry.

“Just get out there and have a go, find out what’s on your land and even if all you recognise is a robin, blue tit, and pigeon, that’s fine.

“You don’t need to be an expert. We just want to awaken that interest in people.”

Get involved: