With the support from the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW), this year's Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Big Farmland Bird Count saw the highest number of participants and amount of land area covered since the initiative began in 2014.
Despite adverse weather during the counting period between 5th and 21st February 2021, participation in Wales increased by 37% on last year to a total of 115 farmers, recording 107 species over more than 34,000 acres.
The Big Farmland Bird Count asks land managers to spend 30 minutes recording the different bird species that they see on their land. It provides farmers and landowners with a simple method for assessing the state of birdlife on their farm each year alongside long term conservation works. Likewise, it highlights the positive work done by farmers and landowners in helping reverse the decline in farmland birds and demonstrates the long-term commitment of Welsh farmers and landowners to conservation alongside productive land use.
A total of 22 species from the Red List for Birds of Conservation Concern were recorded in this year’s count. The five most abundant birds seen across Wales were woodpigeon, starling, chaffinch, fieldfare and lapwing with a total of over 9,200 counted, making up over 36% of the total number of birds recorded.
The average farm size of those taking part was 299 acres with 58% of those being part of some form of agri-environment scheme.