Steve Backshall, Chris Packham and other wildlife stars will flock to Birdfair, our biggest celebration of wildlife

Thursday 11th May 2017

Birdfair is raising funds for 'Saving Paradise in the Pacific'

Wildlife TV presenters will entertain visitors at the annual Birdfair, from 18 to 20 August at Rutland Water Nature Reserve

• Hear fascinating talks, quizzes and debates with Chris Packham, Martin Hughes Games, Nick Baker, Mark Carwardine, Mike Dilger, David Lindo, Simon King and other wildlife experts
• Spend Saturday evening with Steve Backshall, who will be talking about his wild adventures around the world
• Browse hundreds of stalls selling wildlife watching equipment, art, holidays, and more
• Meet local food producers and stock up on their delicious treats
• Enjoy a walk or cruise around Rutland Water and watch the majestic ospreys catching fish

Birdfair brings together nature lovers from 83 countries, and has raised over £4 million for vital conservation work around the world. A visit to the event is a great day (or three) out for anyone interested in birds and other wildlife.

The annual three day nature extravaganza features fascinating talks and hundreds of stalls selling a variety of nature-related goodies, from books to holidays.

The full programme of events will be available on the Birdfair website shortly. This year’s highlights include:

• On Friday night a panel of experts including Chris Packham will debate the role of wildlife film making in conservation. How can nature TV series address the huge issues affecting wildlife? TV producer and wildlife campaigner Mary Colwell, presenter Martin-Hughes Games and zoologist and presenter Mark Carwardine will join Chris in this discussion, chaired by the Badger Trust’s Dominic Dyer.
• Naturalist, TV presenter and adventurer Steve Backshall will bring his incredible energy and enthusiasm to the Birdfair main stage on Saturday evening. There will be gripping and hilarious tales of his adventures exploring and making wildlife programmes.
• A discussion with leading conservationists including BTO’s Andy Clements and Stephanie Hilborne, CEO of The Wildlife Trusts, will look at the impact Brexit might have on birds and other wildlife.

Birdfair founder and co-organiser Tim Appleton, who has run the event since 1989, said

“We’re expecting this year’s event to be absolutely amazing! Steve Backshall is joining us for his first Birdfair, all our favourite wildlife people are here, the programme is packed with really interesting talks and the marquees are the place to be for all your nature shopping needs.”

Tim continued “Recent press articles have revealed what we knew all along: watching birds and wildlife is cool! So we look forward to welcoming new birders and nature fans of all ages to the biggest celebration of wildlife in the UK and quite possibly the world!”

Each year, proceeds from Birdfair’s ticket sales are donated to international conservation work through BirdLife International, which represents wildlife charities around the world. In 2017, Birdfair’s theme is Saving Paradise in the Pacific, and the event will be raising funds for work on the French Polynesian island of Rapa Iti. Here, invasive non-native rats and goats are decimating populations of native birds. These include the Endangered Rapa fruit dove, along with eleven threatened seabirds like the Rapa shearwater and the local form of white-bellied storm petrel. Money from Birdfair will help BirdLife International organise the removal of goats and rats from nine Rapa islets.

Last year’s Birdfair raised an incredible £350,000 for international conservation.

Birdfair entry tickets cover visiting the exhibition marquees and attending the talks during the day. Tickets for the cruises and evening events (an evening with Steve Backshall and the wildlife filming debate) can be bought separately. Please note that cruises and evening events must be booked in advance through the Birdfair website, birdfair.org.uk.

Follow @TheBirdfair on Twitter and Like Birdfair on Facebook for news and updates.

Rutland Water Nature Reserve is cared for by Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust in partnership with Anglian Water and provides one of the most important wildfowl sanctuaries in Great Britain, regularly holding in excess of 25,000 waterfowl.