Latest Research

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.

Bullfinch pair with young, photograph by John Harding

How flexible can birds be with feather moult?

New BTO research uses information collected by bird ringers to investigate large-scale differences and flexibility in the timing of feather moult across 15 passerine species that breed in the UK. Different moult strategies were found between migrant and resident species, alongside within-species regional variation in moulting schedules.