Latest Research

Blackbird nest, photograph by Herbert&Howells

Variation in habitat-specific population trends is consistent with the buffer effect

New BTO research uses data from the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) to quantify habitat-specific trends, providing novel insights into the processes that regulate UK bird populations, and allowing population responses to environmental change to be predicted with greater accuracy.

Whitethroat, photograph by John Proudlock

Warbler breeding success across Europe varies with temperature and latitude

A long-term monitoring study involving bird ringers from five countries has investigated how changes in the reproductive output of seven species of migrant warbler vary with latitude and spring temperature. The implications for predicted changes in species distributions are also discussed.

Great Black-backed Gull, photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Understanding the risk of birds colliding with offshore wind turbines

Accurately estimating birds’ risk of collision with offshore wind turbines is a key part of the decision-making process for proposed renewable developments. However, the evidence base for quantifying the number of birds likely to avoid colliding with turbines is limited. Recent BTO-led work helping to fill this gap, improving the understanding of the impacts of offshore renewables on marine wildlife.

Nightingale, photograph by Amy Lewis

Habitat management is crucial for a declining migrant

Habitat quality is a central concept in species conservation. Key resources must be available if a species is to breed successfully and maintain high survival. BTO work has identified critical elements of habitat for the Nightingale, a species celebrated for its remarkable song. This information has been summarised in a Conservation Advice Note – the first of its kind for the BTO. 

Puffins, photograph by Moss Taylor

Novel methods for estimating abundance and flight heights of seabirds

Wind farms are more likely to negatively affect seabird populations when they overlap with high densities of birds at sea. Additionally, if species’ fly at a similar height to turbine blades they are at greater risk of collision. Recent BTO research has used novel methods to provide information on these aspects for offshore wind farm impact assessments.