RSPB and GWCT gear up to count birds

BIRD-WATCHERS are getting ready to record their feathered friends as part of major wildlife surveys by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).

The data collected by volunteers during the RSPB’s “Big Garden Birdwatch” on 27-29 January and the GWCT’s “Big Farmland Bird Count” on 3-19 February will help with conservation.

Nearly 700,000 people counted 11 million birds during last year’s RSPB survey, which has been running since 1979.

Beccy Speight, the charity’s chief executive, said: “The birds we see in our gardens, from our balconies, and in our parks, are a lively, colourful, and endlessly fascinating part of all our lives, offering a real connection to the natural world.

“By taking part in the ‘Birdwatch’ you – and hundreds of thousands like you – play an important role in helping us understand how UK birds are doing.

“With birds now facing so many challenges due to the nature and climate emergency, every count matters.”

Meanwhile, the GWCT is calling on land managers to sign up for its 10th “Big Farmland Bird Count”.

“It’s an opportunity for farmers to see and review what they are doing – and indeed can do – to aid biodiversity recovery,” said Ross Macleod, head of policy in Scotland for the GWCT.

“Looking after a small family farm myself, it’s really helpful to see how things are going from year to year.

“Seventy two percent of the UK’s total land area is used for agriculture, so farmers, land and woodland managers, and gamekeepers have a vital role to play in the future of wildlife.”

Since 2014, more than 11,000 counts have been carried out by people working on the land across the UK.

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.

Plus, get your skates on so you don’t miss Andy Dobson’s article about flapper skates in the February issue of Scottish Field magazine.