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FARMERS living around Chichester Harbour are being encouraged to take part in a big bird count.

The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust is organising this first count to help determine how farmland bird species are faring and to highlight the good conservation work being undertaken on farmland.

The count will take place between February 1 and 7.

Farmers are being encouraged to spend about 30 minutes recording the species and number of birds seen on one particular area of their farm.

Several bird species such as skylark, yellowhammer, corn buntings and wild grey partridges have suffered dramatic declines over recent years. Populations of breeding corn buntings have dropped by more than a third since 1995.

Siun Cranny, director of Chichester Harbour Conservancy, said: ‘The Conservancy would like to add its support to GWCT in encouraging all farmers in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to participate in this important survey.’