Mike Toms



Associate Director - Communications (Science)


Mike is responsible for how the BTO communicates with a range of audiences, presenting the BTO's science and monitoring work and promoting the role of its volunteer fieldworkers in the provision of data that support conservation science and inform policy. He oversees the BTO's Garden Ecology and Marketing Teams, the latter covering the BTO's press, website and publishing operations.

Research Interests

In addition to work on birds and other taxa within the garden environment (Mike was the BTO's Head of Garden Ecology for many years), his research interest extends to encompass work on Barn Owl survey and monitoring methods, methods for monitoring mammal species and bird migration. He is a BTO ringer, a Nest Recorder and an active fieldworker. His interest in owls is evident from his book in the New Naturalist Series on the subject, published in 2014.

Selected Publications

  • Clewley, G.D., Plummer, K.E., Robinson, R.A., Simm, C.H. & Toms, M.P. 2015 The effect of artificial lighting on the arrival time of birds using garden feeding stations in winter: A missed opportunity? Urban Ecosystems.
  • Plummer, K. E., Siriwardena, G. M., Conway, G. J., Risely, K. and Toms, M. P. 2015. Is supplementary feeding in gardens a driver of evolutionary change in a migratory bird species?. Global Change Biologydoi: 10.1111/gcb.13070
  • Swallow, B.T., Buckland, S.T., King, R. and Toms, M.P. 2015. Bayesian hierarchical modelling of continuous non-negative longitudinal data with a spike at zero: an application to a study of birds visiting gardens in winterBiometrical Journal Online early - DOI: 10.1002/bimj.201400081
  • Morrison, C.A., Robinson, R.A., Leech, D.I., Dadam D. & Toms, M. 2014. Using citizen science to investigate the role of productivity in House Sparrow Passer domesticus population trends. Bird Study  61 (1): 91-100
  • Lawson, B., et al. 2012. Emergence of a novel avian pox disease in British tit species. PLOS ONE http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0040176
  • Lawson, B., et al. 2011. The emergence and spread of finch trichomonosis in the British Isles. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 367: 2852–2863.
  • Lawson, B., et al. 2011. Evidence of spread of the emerging infectious disease finch trichomonosis, by migrating birds. EcoHealth DOI: 10.1007/s10393-011-0696-8
  • Shaw, L.M., Chamberlain, D., Conway, G. & Toms, M.P. 2011. Spatial distribution and habitat preferences of the House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, in urbanised landscapes. BTO Research Report 599
  • Robinson, R.A., Lawson, B., Toms, M.P., Peck, K.M. et al. 2010. Emerging infectious disease leads to rapid population declines of common British birds. PLoS one 2010: 5 (8). e12215
  • Chamberlain, D.E., Glue, D.E. & Toms, M.P. 2009. Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus presence and winter bird abundance. Journal of Ornithology 150: 247-254.
  • Chamberlain, D.E., Cannon, A.R., Toms, M.P., Leech, D.I., Hatchwell, B.J. & Gaston, K.J. 2009. Avian productivity in urban landscapes: a review and meta-analysis. Ibis 151: 1-18.
  • Ockendon, N., Davis, S.E., Miyar, T. & Toms, M.P. 2009. Urbanization and time of arrival of common birds at garden feeding stations. Bird Study 56: 405-410.
  • Ockendon, N., Davis, S., Toms, M. & Mukherjee, S. 2009. Eye size and the time of arrival at garden feeding stations in winter. Journal of Ornithology 150: 903-908.
  • Chamberlain, D.E., Toms, M.P., Cleary-McvHarg, R. & Banks, A.N. 2007. House Sparrows Passer domesticus habitat use in urbanized landscapes. Journal of Ornithology 148: 453-462.
  • McKenzie, A.J., Petty, S.J., Toms, M.P. & Furness, R.W. 2007. Importance of Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis seed and garden bird-feeders for Siskins Carduelis spinus and Coal Tits Periparus ater. Bird Study 54: 236-247.
  • Toms, M.P. 2007. Are gardens good for birds or birdwatchers? British Wildlife 19: 77-83.
  • Toms, M.P. & Newson, S.E. 2006. Volunteer surveys as a means of inferring trends in garden mammal populations. Mammal Review 36: 309-317.
  • Cannon, A.R., Chamberlain, D.E., Toms, M.P., Hatchwell, B.J. & Gaston, K.J. 2005. Trends in the use of private gardens by wild birds in Great Britain 1995-2002. Journal of Applied Ecology 42: 659-671.
  • Chamberlain, D., Gough, S., Vaughan, H., Appleton, G.F., Freeman, S.N., Toms, M.P., Vickery, J. & Noble, D. 2005. The London Bird Project. BTO Research Report 385. BTO, Thetford, Norfolk.
  • Chamberlain, D.E., Cannon, A.R., & Toms, M.P. 2004. Associations of garden birds with gradients in garden habitat and local habitat. Ecography 27: 589-600.
  • Toms, M.P., Crick, H.Q.P. & Shawyer, C.R. 2001. The status of breeding Barn Owls Tyto alba in the United Kingdom 1995-97. Bird Study 48: 23-37.
  • Toms, M.P. Siriwardena, G.M. & Greenwood, J.D. 1999. Developing a mammal monitoring programme for the UK. BTO research Report 223. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk.
  • Toms, M. 2014. Owls. New Naturalist. William Collins, London
  • Toms, M. & Sterry, P. 2008. Garden Birds and Wildlife. AA Publishing, Basingstoke.
  • Toms, M.P., Wilson, I. & Wilson, B. 2008. Gardening for Birdwatchers. BTO, Thetford, Norfolk.
  • Wernham, C., Toms, M., Marchant, J., Clark, J., Siriwardena, G. & Baillie, S. 2002. The Migration Atlas: Movements of the birds of Britain & Ireland. T & A D Poyser. 

Contact details

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