Birdfair, which runs from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 August in Rutland addresses some big issues of the day, including climate change and wildlife decline.
-Come along for three days of wildlife talks and events
-Shop for nature watching gear, tours and other wildlife themed treats
-Get top tips to kick start your conservation career
On Friday evening join Chris Packham, Carrie Symonds, Deborah Meaden, Hannah Stitfall, Isabella Tree, Philip Lymbery and Tony Juniper for a Question Time session looking at the current state of wildlife, chaired by Dominic Dyer. Simon King’s talk on living lighter will look at how we can change the world one step at a time.
On Saturday the UK’s biggest wildlife event also offers opportunities for visitors to discover how to take the first steps in various careers. Hear how a range of passionate conservationists got started and get expert advice to polish up your CV.
Birdfair visitors can also look forward to fun quiz sessions including Would I Fly To You and Bird Brain of Britain hosted by Stephen Moss, Iolo Williams’ talk on Life before Telly and Angie and Jonathan Scott’s Big Cat Tales. Other treats in store include Birdfair’s popular wildlife cruises on Rutland Water, Bird Photographer of the Year Awards with Chris Packham and a production of The Lion King for families. Birdfair will welcome 45 new exhibitors and caterers.
Birdfair founder and manager Tim Appleton said, "There’s really something for everyone this year. Whether you’re a Birdfair regular or a first time visitor, this is going to be a fantastic three days. And it’s worth remembering that everyone visiting is making a real difference by contributing towards wildlife conservation projects."
Each year Birdfair raises vital funds for conservation across the planet through entry ticket sales and a charity auction. This year’s event will fund raise for BirdLife International’s Conserving Cambodia's Big Five project. This project will benefit Western Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary, a forest in the Mekong basin that stretches across the border between Cambodia and Laos. The site is notable for its unusually high concentration of Critically Endangered species; five in total, including the towering Giant Ibis and White-shouldered Ibis and three declining vulture species: White-rumped, Slender-billed and Red-headed.
This globally important site is in dire need of protection to protect its habitat from threats such as unsustainable hunting and deforestation; this year’s project will help secure its future by scaling up existing work with local farmers to develop eco-friendly practices to improve fortunes of the site’s wildlife and those who live on its borders.
Birdfair is jointly promoted by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and the RSPB. The event is held at Rutland Water Nature Reserve which is cared for by Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust in partnership with Anglian Water. A spectacular wetland, it provides one of the most important wildfowl sanctuaries in the UK, regularly holding in excess of 25,000 waterfowl. The Birdfair entry ticket covers all daytime events: separate tickets can be purchased for evening events and cruises. Parking is free. Tickets are available here: Birdfair
photo: Giant Ibis credit Jonathan Eames
photo: Chris Packham credit Terry Bagley .
To highlight the crisis that that nature is facing and the loss of over 40 million wild birds from the UK in just half a century, The RSPB is releasing a specially-created track of birdsong titled ‘Let Nature Sing’. The single contains some of the most recognisable birdsongs that we used to enjoy but which now are on their way to disappearing forever. A compilation of beautiful sound recordings of birds with powerful conservation stories include the Cuckoo, Curlew, Nightingale, Crane and Turtle Dove who form part of the dawn chorus choir.
The track is designed to help reconnect the nation with nature, helping people find a moment to relax and promote a feeling of tranquillity, as birdsong has been proven to aid mental health and promote feelings of wellbeing. The single uses entirely new sound recordings by an RSPB birdsong expert, recorded on nature reserves and other places around the UK.
The single will be available to pre-order on all major platforms from 5 April and on general release 26 April reaching a crescendo for International Dawn Chorus Day on 5 May. More information can be found and the track downloaded at www.rspb.org.uk/letnaturesing
Martin Harper, RSPB Director of Conservation said: “Nature is falling silent; over the last 50 years we’ve lost a quarter of the birds that used to sing and soar in our skies. We’re losing our connection with nature so we’re using music to put it back on the agenda by releasing a track of pure uninterrupted birdsong. Children today grow up with much less birdsong in the soundtrack to their lives. We’re asking people to show their support and concern for nature by downloading the single and enjoying the benefits that birdsong brings into our lives, but also helping to get nature noticed.”
Although the track is not designed to raise funds and the download price is the minimum permitted under chart rules; any proceeds raised will go to help the charity’s 200 UK nature reserves, where a home for the birds featured on the single is created and protected for future generations to enjoy.
Photos: Kevin Sawford ,Craig Churchill ,David Tipling ,Richard Brooks (rspb-images.com)
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. See website gillypickup.co.uk