Winter Farmland Bird Survey

(c) Adrian Dancy
Steve Atkins

The mosslands of the Carbon Landscape remain an important area for red and amber-listed farmland birds despite significant declines in their numbers.

By enlisting the help of volunteer recorders, our Citizen Science Project, in partnership with Greater Manchester Ecological Unit, aims to monitor the abundance and distribution of priority species including Lapwing, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Tree Sparrow and Yellowhammer, and to investigate how they make use of different agricultural habitats and crop types during the winter.

Poor over winter survival has been identified as one of the main factors driving the decline of farmland birds, however, currently we have a poor understanding of how Environmental Stewardship and Countryside Stewardship options benefit wintering birds.

Last winter, 25 of our volunteers took part in the survey and recorded some amazing numbers of finches and buntings feeding on unharvested canary grass. Mixed flocks of these birds numbering in their hundreds and occasionally exceeding thousands were present on the mosslands. In addition, some of the recorders were treated to the spectacle of over 500 Pink-footed Geese roosting on the Lancashire Wildlife Trust Little Woolden Moss reserve and flying across the River Glaze to feed on a large stubble field near Culcheth.

If you would like to witness this incredible wildlife spectacle this winter, and contribute towards the conservation of our farmland birds by taking part in the surveys, then please email carbonlandscape@gmwildlife.org.uk or phone 0161 342 4121 for more information.

Experienced Bird Recorders

If you are able to identify most farmland birds, you can request a survey square via our website and download the survey documentation here.

New to Farmland Bird Recording?

If you would like to improve your farmland bird ID skills and learn how to carry out the surveys then there are opportunities to team up with one of our volunteer recorders and benefit from their experience and skills. Contact carbonlandscape@gmwilldlife.org.uk or phone 0161 342 4121 for more information.