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Counting winged visitors to the area’s farms is helping with conserving the declining species

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 03, 2014

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FARMERS in the Ashbourne area have been taking part in a national study to monitor bird populations on their land in a bid to help conservation projects.

More than 900 farmers across the country registered to take part in the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (GWCT) Big Farmland Bird Count, which started on Saturday and runs until Friday.

Peter Thompson, the GWCT’s farmland biodiversity advisor, said: “For those interested in taking part in the Big Farmland Bird Count, the GWCT is providing a simple tick sheet that can be downloaded and taken into the field to record any bird sightings.

“Participants will then be able to send the results either via a dedicated web page or through the post.

“The GWCT is inviting people to spend about half an hour recording the species and number of birds seen on one area of the farm.

“Farmers play a crucial role in the survival of farmland birds through the wide range of conservation measures that they are now implementing on their land.

But it is vital to understand how these ‘green’ measures are helping some of our most rapidly declining birds and importantly, which species are benefiting most.

“The result of spending just a short time monitoring your birds can be surprising and very satisfying to see the results.

“We hope it will spur people on to do even more work for their farmland birds in the future.”

The GWCT’s Big Farmland Bird Count is sponsored by BASF and in partnership with the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group and Linking Environment and Farming.

To find out more about the project, or how to get involved, visit the website at www.gwct.org.uk/bfbc

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