ID Days announced ahead of 2018 Big Farmland Bird Count

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Ahead of the fifth Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC), the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) is offering a ‘fantastic’ opportunity for farmers to take part in a host of farmland bird identification workshops.

The ID workshops, which run across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, provide advice on birds that can be tricky to differentiate such as a Dunnock from a Tree sparrow.

Each workshop will be run by a farmland bird expert alongside a host farmer and, at the end of the day, participants will hopefully feel more confident in spotting the top 20 bird species likely to be seen on farmland over winter. These include some of the most iconic birds of the British countryside such as the Barn owl, Bullfinch, Lapwing, Grey partridge, Tree sparrow and Yellowhammer.

Jim Egan, founder of the BFBC and Head of Training and Development at the GWCT’s Allerton Project in Loddington, says the identification days are invaluable preparation for the count itself.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for farmers to gain a better understanding of how to identify a range of farmland birds.

“The days are set-up across the country to provide lots of information on how to identify certain birds and what they can do in the future to preserve them.

“I would say to anyone thinking about taking part – do it. Get out and enjoy the birds on your farm and give us the opportunity to shout about the great work you’re doing.”

In addition, a colour ID guide is provided to those who attend, with a focus on birds that are harder to identify.

The first ID day takes place on January 17th and they run for three weeks up until the start of the count which, this year, runs from Friday February 9th to Sunday February 18th.

The Northern Ireland event takes place on January 31st. Visit