The Breeding Bird Survey

The BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the main scheme for monitoring the population changes of the UK’s common breeding birds. It is a national volunteer project aimed at keeping track of changes in the breeding populations of widespread bird species in the UK. Wild bird populations are an important indicator of the health of the countryside, and knowing to what extent bird populations are increasing or decreasing is fundamental to bird conservation.

Latest BBS news

BBS Report 2014 - Meadow Pipit by Tony Hawkins

BBS results - some respite for Britain's Birds

Some stay, some go, but 2013 to 2014 was a good year for many of the UK’s birds. The latest results from the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) brought some short-term, positive news for a suite of both migratory and resident species against a backdrop of long-term declines for many, long-distance migrants in particular. The BBS Report 2014 reveals the latest short and long-term trends for 110 species, focuses on increasing coverage in the uplands and takes a look at recording how birds were first detected during the 2014 surveys.

A huge thank you to all the dedicated volunteers who contributed to the survey in 2014. 

BBS surveyor by Jill Tardivel

BBS volunteer stories

Over 2,800 volunteers contribute to the Breeding Bird Survey annually. This fantastic effort has been recognised with an insight into three BBS squares, one in the uplands of Scotland, one in the lowlands of Kent and a third in a house estate in Middle England!

We have also collected some thoughts from just some of the 150 dedicated BBS volunteers who have been involved with the survey every year for the last two decades.

Grasshopper Warbler. Photograph by Amy Lewis

Recording detectability in BBS

Volunteers are able to optionally record how birds were first detected (visually, by call or by song) on their BBS square. This was introduced, for the first time in 2014, and will help us to calculate the differences in detectability between males and females, and birds that are seen or heard. To find out more please read about the methods here.