Waterways Breeding Bird Survey
Rivers and canals are great places for birds and birdwatchers, creating wildlife corridors that strike into the heart of our cities and stretch from moorland to estuary. The Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS) provides both a great excuse for a summer morning walk and an effective way to monitor the health of the species that live in wet habitats.
WBBS is an annual survey of breeding birds along rivers and canals. It is a transect survey with many similarities to the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). Volunteers walk along from just 500 metres to a maximum of 5 km of waterway, making a note of all of the birds that they see and hear.
WBBS results supplement BBS with additional data on the birds and mammals of waterside habitats. They are a major component of the BirdTrends report. The scheme covers all bird species but is especially valuable for monitoring the population trends of specialist birds of linear waters, such as Goosander, Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher and Dipper.
WBBS developed alongside the BTO's long-running mapping survey of rivers and canals – the Waterways Bird Survey (WBS), which ran from 1974 to 2007. For up to 25 waterway-specialist birds, the Birdtrends report includes breeding population trends that are based on a continuous run of WBS and WBBS results since 1974.