Organisers of the Big Farmland Bird Count are asking the country’s land managers to spend 30 minutes recording the farmland birds they see on their land. The annual count, run by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), is scheduled for the February 5-14, 2021.

“With 71 per cent of Britain’s countryside looked after by farmers, land managers and gamekeepers, they are crucial to ensuring the survival of cherished bird species like skylarks, yellowhammers, corn buntings and wild grey partridges,” said Dr Roger Draycott, organiser and head of advisory services at the GWCT.

“Many of them are already doing fantastic work to support and conserve our native species, including supplementary feeding through winter or growing crops specifically to provide seed for birds, which often goes unrecognised.

"The Big Farmland Bird Count gives them a chance to see the results of their efforts and provides a crucial national snapshot of the health of the UK’s farmland birds.”

Crucially, the nationwide citizen science project helps show which farmland birds are benefitting from conservation efforts while identifying the species most in need of help.

The NFU is sponsoring the Big Farmland Bird Count for the third year running, demonstrating the farming community’s commitment to conserving our native bird species.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “Alongside producing climate-friendly food, farmers are working hard to maintain and improve the iconic British countryside by enhancing habitats, supporting pollinators and soils, and protecting wildlife.

“The Big Farmland Bird Count is always a fantastic way for farmers to record the birdlife found on their farms and last year saw record numbers of farmers braving stormy weather to take part and record many different threatened species of farmland birds."

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and poor weather, 2020’s Big Farmland Bird Count saw record numbers of people taking part: more than 1500 participants recorded more than 120 species across 1.4 million acres.

The 2020 event also saw more counts returned by ‘farmer clusters’ or groups of farmers working together on conservation projects, providing species data at a wider landscape level as well as at individual farm level.

Encouragingly, 25 species from the Red List for Birds of Conservation Concern were recorded in 2020, with nine of them appearing in the 25 most commonly seen list and nine in the most abundant species list, including fieldfares, starlings, linnets and lapwings. Blackbirds and woodpigeons were the most seen species in 2020, followed by robins, blue tits and pheasants.

At the end of the count, the results will be analysed by the GWCT. All participants will receive a report on the national results once they have been collated.

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How to take part in the Big Farmland Bird Count:

As most participants count alone or with family members, outside, the Big Farmland Bird Count can be safely carried out within Covid-secure guidelines. Species guides, including short videos, will be available at

1. Download your count sheet from the BFBC website

2. Count your birds! On a day between February 5-14, spend about 30 minutes recording the species and number of birds seen on one particular area of the farm.

3. Once you've completed your count, simply submit your results at