James Heywood

BBS National Organiser

James is responsible for managing the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey, incorporating the Waterways Breeding Bird Survey, and assisting with the coordination of the BTO's Regional Network - our network of volunteer Regional Representatives, Organisers and Ambassadors. 

Interests & Responsibilities

James oversees the national coordination of both the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS). Both surveys involve working closely with Regional Organisers from the BTO Regional Network, and BBS and WBBS volunteers to ensure effective coverage by the surveys. 

Responsibilities include maintenance of databases, production of reporting outputs, survey promotion and liaison with the volunteer network, the Partner organisations (JNCC and RSPB) and managing a ‘BBS/WBBS support’ role two days a week. 

In addition and as part of the BBS, James works in partnership with Butterfly Conservation, the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology and JNCC in order to coordinate the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS) on survey squares.

James is interested in methodological problems around data collection for schemes/surveys of all kinds. He has been a BTO volunteer since 2017 and is particularly keen to ensure that these data are as widely used as possible, a view partly inspired from a previous career in medical research.

Other information

Prior to his present role, James worked as an Ecological Consultant in Cambridgeshire, undertaking surveys to inform impact assessments (ornithological, bats, great crested newts to name a few) as well as working on ‘biodiversity audits’ for Local Authorities.

Prior to that, James worked as a Data Scientist in the University of Cambridge, managing datasets as part of research into Type 1 Diabetes. As a student, James spent time in research on fossil and living mammalian herbivores and their morphological adaptations.

James is a keen birder and has a particular interest in waders and their conservation. He loves taking his young family out looking at wildlife, though the same level of enthusiasm is not always shared by them. James also enjoys plant recording and identification, particularly the less fashionable grasses and sedges.


PhD - Biological Anthropology -University of Cambridge (2005-2009).

MSc - Applied Ecology & Conservation - University of East Anglia (2016/18).

MA – Zoology – University of Cambridge (2001-2005).

Level 4 FISC (Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland).

Level 1 Survey Licence, Great Crested Newt.

Recent BTO Publications

Heywood, J.J.N., Massimino, D., Balmer, D.E., Kelly, L., Noble, D.G., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Woodcock, P., Wotton, S., Gillings, S. & Harris, S.J. 2023. The Breeding Bird Survey 2022. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk ISBN: 978-1-912642-53-3 36pp

Other Publications

Todd, J.A., et al. 2016. Hyperacute effects of interleukin-2 on immune cell trafficking in an adaptive dose-finding trial to quantify T regulatory cell response. doi: ​http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002139

Heywood, J. J. N.et al. 2015. Effective recruitment of participants to a phase I study using the internet and publicity releases through charities and patient organisations: analysis of the adaptive study of il-2 dose on regulatory T cells in type 1 diabetes (DILT1D). ​Trials, ​16 (86). ​doi: 10.1186/s13063-015-0583-7

Heywood, J. J. N. 2014. Anatomy and evolution of teeth. ​Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour of Wild Cattle: Implications for Conservation, 63-71.

Maher, L. A., Stock, J. T., Finney, S., Heywood, J. J. N., Miracle, P. T., & Banning, E. B. 2011. A unique human-fox burial from a Pre-Natufian cemetery in the Levant (Jordan). ​Plos One, ​6 (1). ​doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015815

Heywood, J. J. N. 2010. Explaining patterns in modern ruminant diversity: contingency or constraint? ​Biological Journal of the Linnean Society , ​99 (4), 657-672. ​doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2010.01436.x

Heywood, J. J. N. 2010. Functional anatomy of bovid upper molar occlusal surfaces with respect to diet. ​Journal of Zoology , ​281 (1), 1-11. ​doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2009.00668.x

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