FARMERS and gamekeepers are being encouraged to take part in the big farmland bird count, as it returns for its sixth year in a row.

Between February 8-17, farmers with conservation schemes in place – such as supplementary feeding or growing wild bird seed crops – are being asked to put 30 minutes aside, and be on the lookout for birds such as barn owls, lapwings and grey partridges, and keep a record of their feathered finds.

The scheme was initiated by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust with the aim to monitor which farmland birds are thriving due to good conservation efforts, and which ones need extra help. The scheme also provides farmers a opportunity to show their conservation efforts.

The official count sheet can be downloaded at