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 form, David Tipling

Submitting BBS data for 2016

There are now three tutorial videos available, covering three aspects of the BBS Online system to help those using the online system to submit and edit 2016 data:

Logging in and entering data

Mapping and editing your route  

Editing data

All three can be found on the BBS-Online webpage, along with further information on the online system. Remember, when entering data; using the tab button on the keyboard to move from one data entry box to another is quicker than clicking with the mouse. Thanks for taking part in the BBS.

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.

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.