Latest Research

Willow Warbler, photograph by Jill Pakenham

Is Willow Warbler breeding changing with the times?

New research by the BTO and the University of East Anglia uses information from the Nest Record Scheme to investigate changes in Willow Warbler breeding between the 1960s and the present day. Despite advances in the timing of egg laying, there has been little change in Willow Warbler productivity over this period.

Lesser Redpoll, photograph by Chris Knights

Are Tree Pipit and Lesser Redpoll declines linked to changes in young woodland?

New research examining the relationship between the availability of young woodland and two declining species - the Tree Pipit and the Lesser Redpoll - indicates that while important, young woodland availability is not the primary driver of population trends in these species.

Corn Bunting, photograph by Mark R Taylor

Can birds chase a changing climate?

New research by the BTO has used detailed distribution maps of 122 species of bird to measure the ways that climate change could be affecting our avian populations. Species distributions were found to have changed, but the range shifts detected could not be explained by any single climatic factor, indicating that the distribution changes for British birds are complex, multi-directional and species specific.

Sparrowhawk, photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Applying new statistical methods to garden bird data

New research has developed a novel statistical technique for analysing data from the BTO Garden Bird Feeding Survey. This has revealed a correlation between the abundance of House Sparrows and their Sparrowhawk predators. The number of House Sparrows visiting garden feeding stations fell at feeding stations where the number of Sparrowhawks has increased over the last 40 years.

Smew, photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Protected areas help rare duck adapt to climate change

Data from the Wetland Bird Survey have contributed to new research showing how Europe's winter population of Smew has redistributed north-eastwards due to milder winter conditions in the last 25 years. The study, involving scientists in 16 countries, also demonstrated that population growth has been twice as fast inside protected areas compared to outside.