Count on Bees’n’Seeds to increase farmland bird numbers

Belinda Bailey, Syngenta Environmental Initiatives Manager
Belinda Bailey, Syngenta Environmental Initiatives Manager

Farmers across the UK are being urged to join in the Big Farmland Bird Count next week (6th – 14th February), with Syngenta Operation Pollinator Bees‘n’Seeds wildflower habitats among the areas being targeted to record the highest numbers of bird species and populations.

A focus on actively managed new habitats specifically designed to attract and support large numbers of farmland birds could identify many of the species that have been in decline.

Bees'n'Seeds mix

Bees'n'Seeds mix

Organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), the Big Farmland Bird Count gives an invaluable snapshot to the health of farmland bird populations – some of which have suffered serious declines over past years, but where farmers’ positive action to restore habitats has seen notable recovery of some species.

GWCT Farmland Biodiversity Advisor, Peter Thompson, explained that the fall in numbers of farmland birds had occurred for a myriad of reasons over the past 30 years.

“However, there are some really encouraging initiatives instigated over recent years that have shown landowners can support more farmland birds.”

He highlighted the three key elements to restore bird numbers were the provision of safe nesting sites; enhancing insect rich habitats for summer food supply and providing ample winter seed sources.

“We now have far better understanding of different birds’ requirements to tailor these fundamental elements to specific species,” advised Peter. “But if farmers can provide the basics for food and shelter, it will significantly help a broad range of farmland species.”

Belinda Bailey, Syngenta Environmental Initiatives Manager, reported over 350 hectares of the Bees‘n’Seeds mix had been sown by farmers across the UK over the past year.

“We have already seen that the flowering mix creates a colourful bloom in late summer, which has been alive with insect life essential for birds to successfully rear chicks.

“Then it goes on to bear prolific seed heads that provide an essential winter food source for our native birds and many visiting farmland species.”

All farmers taking part in the Big Farmland Bird Count are eligible to apply for a limited special offer from Syngenta for Operational Pollinator Bees‘n’Seeds mix.

For more information on how to take part in the Big Farmland Bird Count visit the GWCT website.

For more information on the Bees’n’Seeds offer and Operation Pollinator advice, please contact belinda.bailey@syngenta.com or Kings on 0800 587 9797.