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From Rutland to the world:The Birdfair celebrates 25 years of helping global wildlife

Last modified: 06 August 2013

Jerry Wilson at the Scottish Birdfair

Image: Ed Mackey

Whether you want to travel the world in search of your favorite wildlife, get hands on with the latest optics or photographic technology, or hear the latest international wildlife news from a range of global experts, then thousands of visitors will tell you the British Birdfair is the place to be in August each year.

Now in its 25th year, the Birdfair, held annually at Rutland Water, will be expecting to create even more of a buzz this year.  Over three days from Friday 16 August, the anticipated 22,000 visitors can take in a broad range of entertainments and wildlife lectures from all over the world; browse the offerings of almost 350 stands; enjoy glimpsing wildlife celebrities; and relax on a wildlife cruise. However, visitors are rewarded by knowing that this year’s extravaganza builds on previous Birdfair events by raising funds for BirdLife International’s Flyways Programme, which will help save millions of birds on their annual migrations. The focus this year will be on the flyways between North and South America and especially long-distance migrant birds dependant on grasslands from “prairies to pampas”.

The RSPB’s Martin Davies and Tim Appleton, of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, are co-founders and organisers of the Birdfair. Martin Davies said: “A quarter century anniversary is a perfect opportunity to look back and look forward. We are delighted that over 25 years the event has raised over £3 million for conservation and has helped species as diverse as albatrosses to hummingbirds. But looking forward, we’re hoping to achieve even more for conservation. The number of species facing extinction has risen considerably – now one in eight of the world’s bird species are facing oblivion. If we all focus our efforts, we really can make a positive difference for conservation.”

The vast majority of the money raised comes from visitors’ entrance fees, and as in all previous years, the organisers guarantee that every penny of the entrance fee will go to the chosen conservation project. Therefore, 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 Birdfair commented: “For all its serious focus on raising funds and awareness to help some of the world’s most threatened species and habitats, we recognise that the Birdfair is also great fun. We’re delighted that it still has the relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere it did when we started 25 years ago.”

The three-day event is expected to attract a host of celebrities including: wildlife cameraman and presenter, Simon King; bird expert extraordinaire, Bill Oddie with his friend, film producer and writer Stephen Moss; wildlife presenter Nick Baker; Matthew Gordon brings the famous penguin cams from the TV series; and Scottish singers Fiona Kennedy and Ruairidh McDonald will join Roy Dennis. David Lindo, Sir John Lister-Kaye, Johnny Kingdom, Charlie Hamilton–James, actor Phil Daniels, folk singer Jackie Oates, Ceri Levy and Jonathan Scott will also be enjoying the fun of the Birdfair.

For further information on the 25th Birdfair and to buy advanced, discounted etickets, visit www.birdfair.org.uk 

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