Last modified: 14 August 2012
Image: Nigel Blake
Celebrity spotting, wildlife cruises, enjoying a vast range of entertainments and wildlife lectures from all over the world and browsing the offerings of almost 350 stands are just some of the things the thousands of visitors to this year’s Birdfair, held at Rutland Water, will be able to experience.
This year’s event (running from 17 - 19 August) is the 24th to be held at the Egleton Nature Reserve and the fair’s co-organisers are expecting this year’s event to be the biggest Birdfair yet.
The three-day event is likely to attract over 22,000 visitors and celebrity guests including: wildlife cameraman and presenter, Simon King; world-famous filmmaker, Nigel Marven; bird expert extraordinaire, Bill Oddie with his friend, film producer and writer Stephen Moss; filmmaker, Robin Smith; wildlife presenter, Nick Baker; presenter and photographer, Mark Carwardine and the One Show’s naturalist, Mike Dilger. They will also be joined by David Lindo, Johnny Kingdom and Jonathan Scott, and Rob Lambert.
The RSPB’s Martin Davies, one of the co-founders of the event said: “Birdfair encompasses the whole spectrum of the birdwatching industry whilst at the same time supporting global bird conservation. This is the event of the year if you’re into birds and wildlife.”
Each year Birdfair raises money for a different international conservation project and has raised more than £2.6million to support various issues since the event was founded. This year, profits will go to BirdLife International’s Flyway Programme, helping conservation efforts to protect intertidal wetlands on the East Asian-Australasian flyway and the migratory waterbirds that use them.
Martin continued: “Thanks to its popularity and huge success, Birdfair has enabled BirdLife International to make some remarkable conservation achievements, helping birds under real threat of extinction, from albatrosses in the southern oceans to white-winged guans in Peru and we’re excited to continue to raise money and awareness for these crucially important conservation issues.
“The vast majority of the money we raise comes from visitors’ entrance fees, and as in all previous years, we guarantee that every penny of the £12.50 adult entrance fee (children enter free) will go to the chosen conservation project. So, just by attending the fair, everyone is helping support conservation”
Tim Appleton of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and co-founder and organiser of the fair, commented: “Birdfair has grown enormously over its 24-year history, with many dubbing it the wildlife event of the year and some even calling it ‘Glastonbury for wildlife lovers’. What I love about it, though, is that despite its size and popularity, it still manages to capture a relaxed, friendly and fun atmosphere. There’s something for everyone at Birdfair, no matter how old or young you are or how much you know about wildlife.”