David Noble


Principal Ecologist – Monitoring Research


Strategic development of BTO’s monitoring programme and associated research, main contact for biodiversity indicators, surveys of taxa other than birds, and conservation initiatives such as BAP and Birds of Conservation Concern


BSc Guelph University, Canada.
MSc Queen’s University, Canada.
PhD University of Cambridge, UK.

Research Interests / Responsibilities

  • Senior investigator with extensive experience in the analysis and interpretation of biological data.
  • Represents BTO on a range of scientific and statutory committees related to bird and mammal conservation.
  • Interested in capacity building and development of monitoring programmes for birds and other taxa in the UK and internationally, particularly in Europe.
  • Committed to an evidence-based approach to tackling a range of conservation issues
  • Experience leading a team of researchers on projects related to bird conservation, temporal and spatial variation in bird abundance and distribution and the development of analytical methods.
  • Development of bird indicators in the UK and in Europe
  • Previously, researcher on the ecology and behaviour of seabirds in Canada and cuckoo hosts in the UK and Africa, currently investigating effects of pollutants on migratory waders in North America 

Other Information

European Bird Census Council (EBCC) – Delegate, and Observer on Executive Committee
Tracking Mammals Partnership

Selected Publications

Eglington, S.M., Brereton, T.M., Tayleur, C.M., Noble, D., Risely, K., Roy, D.B. & Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2015. Patterns and causes of covariation in bird and butterfly community structure. Landscape Ecology DOI 10.1007/s10980-015-0199-z

Burgess, M.D., Bellamy, P.E., Gillings, S., Noble, D.G., Grice, P.V. & Conway, G.J. 2015. The impact of changing habitat availability on population trends of woodland birds associated with early successional plantation woodland. Bird Study 62 39-55. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00063657.2014.998622.

Hewson, C.M. & Noble, D.G. 2009. Population trends of breeding birds in British woodlands over a 32-year period: relationships with food, habitat use and migratory behaviour. Ibis 151: 464-486  doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2009.00937.x

Newson, S.E., Evans, K.L., Noble, D.G., Greenwood, J.J.D. & Gaston, K.J. 2008. Use of distance sampling to improve estimates of national population sizes for common and widespread breeding birds in the UK. Journal of Applied Ecology 45: 1330-1338  doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01480.x

Braune, B.M. & Noble, D.G. 2007. Environmental contaminants in Canadian shorebirds. Environmental Monitoring & Assessment 148:185-204  doi: 10.1007/s100661-007-0150-0

Freeman, S.N., Noble, D.G. Newson, S.E. & Baillie, S.R. 2007. Modelling bird population changes using data from the Common Birds Census and the Breeding Bird Survey. Bird Study 54: 61-72

Vaughan, I.P., Noble, D.G. & Ormerod, S.J. 2007. Combining surveys of river habitats and river birds to appraise riverine hydromorphology. Freshwater Biology 52: 2270-2284

Baker, H., Stroud, D.A., Aebischer, N.J., Cranswick. P.A., Gregory, R.D., McSorley, C.A., Noble, D.G. & Rehfisch, M.M. 2006. Population estimates of birds in Great Britain and the United Kingdom. British Birds 99: 25-44

Freckleton, R.P., Gill, J.A., Noble, D. & Watkinson, A.R. 2005. Large scale population dynamics, abundance-occupancy relationships and the scaling from local to regional population size. Journal of Animal Ecology 74: 353-364

Gillings, S., Newson, S.E., Noble, D.G. & Vickery, J.A. 2005. Winter availability of cereal stubbles attracts declining farmland birds and positively influences breeding population trends. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 272: 733-739   doi: 10.1098/rspb.2004.3010

Gregory, R.D., van Strien, A., Vorisek, P., Meyling, A.W.G., Noble, D.G., Foppen, R P.B. & Gibbons, D.W. 2005. Developing indicators for European birds. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 360: 269-288

Gregory, R.D., Noble, D.G. & Custance, J. 2004. The state of play of farmland birds: population trends and conservation status of lowland farmland birds in the United Kingdom. Ibis 146 (Suppl s2): 1-13

Contact details

Email: david.noble [at] bto.org
Telephone: 01842 750050
Fax: 01842 750030
Postal address: British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, IP24 2PU, UK.