Global Birdfair 2022

Global Birdfair was held on 15, 16 and 17 July 2022 at Rutland Showground, Oakham UK.

Global Birdfair was held on 15, 16 and 17 July 2022 at Rutland Showground, Oakham UK.

Having spent my career as an accountant I had almost no experience of helping to organise and run a stand at a major international event but that didn’t seem to stop me thinking it was a good idea for House Martin Conservation UK & Ireland to attend the show as an exhibitor. Fortunately, my colleague Paul Stevens (Conservation Officer and Artificial Nest Cup supremo) had also decided that he wished to attend and even more fortunately, wildlife artist Jonathan Pomroy was also not only going to attend but had been before.

The idea was met with 100% support from all my colleagues on our amazing management committee and everyone threw themselves into the planning with gusto. We are a diverse team with so many skilled and talented people and quite quickly we had posters, banners, educational literature and greeting cards – everything we needed for a successful fair. Paul, turned his entire home into a production line making ANCs to bring to the show, both to increase awareness and to sell.

As the word spread that we were planning to attend the fair we had a really lovely approach from a team from the Swift Local Network Group. The swift folks have been attending the show for many years and offered to share a stand with us. I have to say we were hugely grateful because the cost to the exhibitors at Birdfair is considerable for a small charity and we didn’t want to use any donation income – so sharing with the swift network was both a relief and an absolute joy.

This year Birdfair hosted 245 exhibitors across various sectors including conservation organisations, art, media, photography, books, optical equipment, nature tourism, local produce, clothing, bird food and other nature related products. The number of attendees exceeded 11,600. Three Lecture stages hosted 132 lectures during the fair as well as the Osprey Events stage. Over the three days, over 10,500 people attended a lecture or event.

Whilst it was really wonderful to meet so many members of the public, many many birders, but also farmers and families who share our passion for the house martin it was also lovely for us as a charity team to actually meet each other. We were formed during lockdown and meet monthly via virtual technology – but actually being able to meet and hug was very precious. Paul and I both tempted our partners into helping out for the four days and we were joined by our lovely membership officer Amelia and our little dynamo Barbara Polonara. Over the week we were joined by Ben (treasurer), Sophie Streeter (senior field rep) and Michael Priaulx (planning). Michael was gratefully shared with the swift team.

One thing we all noticed sharing with the swift folks was just how well-established swift conservation is compared to the house martin. There were huge numbers of visitors buying swift boxes and call systems and a lot of success stories from people establishing swift colonies. It was good to see so many enthusiasts and I felt I learned a lot from the swift team.
The ‘Global Birdfair 2022 Project’ being supported through BirdLife International was Revive La Janda, an area in Andalucia, Spain which acts as a vital link for migratory birds to the UK from Africa.

In September 2022 during the BirdLife International World Congress in Cambridge, Tim Appleton (Birdfair organiser) announced that the total sum being donated by Global Birdfair to the 2022 Conservation Project was an incredible €100,000.00. For us with our own vulnerable little migrator this is fabulous news!

If the show is held next year – we will not hesitate to do it again and it would be lovely to see as many of you as possible.

Written by Julia Hearley

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