Results in on big farmland bird count

A HEALTH check of farmland birds has found that a number of under threat species are still being seen across Yorkshire.

The blackbird was the most common bird seen on farms this winter.

The Big Farmland Bird Count was co-ordinated by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) between February 7-15 and the results are now in.

In North Yorkshire, 24 farmers spotted 86 different species including 14 that are ‘Red Listed’ and are a conservation concern, while in East Yorkshire 21 farmers took part and recorded 67 different species with 13 of them threatened types of birds.

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The most spotted species in both areas was the blackbird, ahead of the blue tit in North Yorkshire and the pheasant in East Yorkshire. Robins, carrion crows and woodpigeons were also common sights.

Stephen Fell, chairman of Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) who farms in Thorganby. near Selby, said: “I have always felt that our farmland bird populations are much greater and more diverse than we have been given credit for.

“This count gives us, as farmers, the chance to actually identify and count that which we can take for granted day in and day out, and tell the world about it. I enjoy doing it and seeing that some of the environmental measures we implement are having an effect.”

The Bird Count is considered a means of recording the effect of conservation schemes on farmland and a useful way for farmers to gain an insight into how birds are faring because of these measures.

Across Britain, farmers were joined by gamekeepers and land managers who collectively look after nearly one million acres of farmland, supported the initiative in its second year.

Jim Egan, head of training and development for the GWCT, said: “Double the number of farmers turned out this winter and between them they recorded more than 127 different species on their farms. This was a remarkable achievement, particularly as they monitored an additional 11 species compared to 2014.”

The five most common birds seen on farms this winter were blackbird, seen by nearly 90 per cent of farmers, followed by robin (80 per cent), blue tit (79 per cent), chaffinch (75 per cent) and carrion crow seen by over 70 per cent of the farmers taking part.

A total of 19 red list species of conservation concern were also recorded.