ASHBOURNE farmers are being invited to take part in an annual bird count project.
Next weekend hundreds of people from across the country will be involved in the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (GWCT) Big Farmland Bird Count.
GWCT spokesman Jim Egan said: “The response to our Big Farmland Bird Count, which takes place from Saturday, February 1 until Friday, February 7, has been remarkable and we are thrilled that so many farmers have signed up to take part.
“We are also delighted that the count is being backed by many important farming organisations such as NFU, CLA, the Soil Association, Conservation Grade plus many others who are supporting this important initiative by encouraging their members to take part.”
As an added incentive to join the survey, the GWCT is running a photo competition alongside the count and entrants could win one of two prizes donated by the sponsors Kings and BASF.
The competition is open to anyone who is taking part in the Big Farmland Bird Count and involves taking a photo within the areas of the farm where the counting is taking place, showing either birds, wildlife, crops or just a beautiful area of the farm.
The GWCT will publish the 10 best photos on its Big Farmland Bird Count blog and visitors will be able to vote for their favourite image.
The first prize in the photo competition is 2 hectares of wild bird seed mix plus a free half day advisory visit.
The second prize is an Apple iPad mini tablet worth £250.
Mr Egan said, “Joining the Big Farmland Bird Count is a fantastic way of showing how conservation measures being implemented on a farm such as offering extra grain seeds during winter or growing wild bird seed crops are boosting bird numbers.
“The count will also help people to discover the different range of birds that are on their farms.
“Very often just looking for a few moments can reveal some surprising results.
“Our hope is that it will spur people on to do even more work for their farmland birds and will act as a catalyst for them to start building their own long-standing wildlife records.”
The GWCT is providing a simple tick sheet that can be downloaded and taken into the field to record sightings.
More information on joining the Big Farmland Bird Count is available online at www.gwct.org.uk/bfbc