Sunflowers power £2 million for nature’s recovery

Sunflowers power £2 million for nature’s recovery

Lucy Taylor and Nicholas Watts of Vine House Farm by Matthew Roberts

A wildlife-friendly farm that grows wild bird seed are celebrating raising £2 million for wildlife conservation, of which more than £33,500 is helping wildlife in Worcestershire.

Vine House Farm announced the £2 million milestone as sunflowers bloomed on the family farm in Lincolnshire.  The black sunflower seeds are part of 400 acres of bird seed crops, which will go into wild bird food mixes along with red millet, canary seed, oil seed rape and naked oats, all home grown on the farm.

Thanks to hedges, ponds, and wildflower margins at field edges, all created by farmer and award-winning conservationist, Nicholas Watts, the farm is also a haven for flocks of wild birds including rare and declining tree sparrows, red-listed linnets and lapwing. The money, raised over 14 years, supports the nature conservation work of The Wildlife Trusts.

Lucy Taylor, manager at Vine House Farm, and Nicholas’ daughter said  “Our partnership with The Wildlife Trusts has long been very important to us. Along with the practical measures we take on the farm to, for example, to reverse the trend of declining songbird numbers; a percentage of each purchase of Vine House Farm bird seed goes to support Wildlife Trusts, enabling a greater conservation impact across the country.

“The Wildlife Trusts have always been the obvious choice for us to champion and it’s been a proud time for me, my father and all our family to be able to reach the two million pound milestone. Now we look forward to the future and being able to eventually reach five million and more.”

Mike Perry, Head of Resources for Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, commented “The team at Vine House Farm are doing what they can for wildlife on their own land, enabling people across the UK, and right here in Worcestershire, to experience the joy of wildlife in their own gardens and also providing great support for our conservation work and that of Wildlife Trusts throughout the country.

“Here in Worcestershire, they’ve helped us to manage our many nature reserves as well as work with partners and communities to restore and create habitats to help wildlife to thrive and nature to recover.

“Thank you to Nicholas and his family for their support.”

The current Covid-19 pandemic has seen more customers than ever coming to Vine House Farm for expert advice and wild garden bird food.

Farmer Nicholas Watts said “Summer sees adult birds moult, shedding their old feathers and growing new ones, which takes a lot of energy, so birds still need feeding. Sources of natural food, like insects, are declining and in dry weather worms retreat deeper into the soil. Putting out plump sultanas, soaked in water means young birds can get vital moisture.”

 “Watch who visits your garden, whether they’re ground feeders or prefer perching on trees or shrubs and offer a variety of food, so each bird gets what it needs from seeds to suet, or mealworms.”

 As well as remembering to keep feeders and tables clean so the birds stay healthy and disease-free, visit our feed the birds page to find out more about helping our feathered friends where you live.