Sarah Harris

BBS National Organiser

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

Interests & Responsibilities

Sarah is responsible for the national coordination of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS), these two surveys involve working closely with the Regional Network to ensure effective delivery of the schemes. Responsibilities include maintenance of databases, production of reporting outputs, promotion and liaison with the volunteer network and the Partner organisations (JNCC & RSPB).

Sarah also 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 BBS survey squares.

Sarah has always been interested bird (and other taxa) monitoring and making that data available as widely as possible for use in research and conservation. Occasionally, Sarah works with research teams at BTO carrying out tracking fieldwork for species such as Arctic Skua and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Other Information

Prior to undertaking her current role, Sarah has worked as Estate and then Ornithological Warden on the Calf of Man Bird Observatory, which involved various bird monitoring and ringing activities. This was followed by the role of Assistant Warden on Skomer Island and then onto the position of White-tailed Eagle Officer on the Isle of Skye - plotting all White-tailed Eagle nests, territories and roost sites across Skye and neighbouring islands.

Sarah is a very keen birder, bird recorder and has been a ringer since the age of 13. She is the Honorary Secretary of the Rye Meads Ringing Group committee, Spurn Bird Observatory committee member and Chair of the Spurn Bird Observatory Science and Research sub-committee. Sarah is particularly interested in Bird Observatory work, witnessing and recording bird migration, gull identification, seawatching and moth recording.


BSc (Hons) Countryside Conservation, Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion, 2005-2008
A’ Permit bird ringer, 2008
Coastal Powerboat Level 2 certificate, 2011

Recent BTO Publications

Harris, S.J., Massimino, D., Balmer, D.E., Kelly, L., Noble, D.G., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Woodcock, P., Wotton, S. & Gillings, S. 2022. The Breeding Bird Survey 2021. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk ISBN: 978-1-912642-37-3 36pp
Gillings, S. & Harris, S.J. 2022. Estimating the carbon footprint of citizen science biodiversity monitoring. People & Nature View at journal website (DOI: 10.1002/pan3.10333)
Gillings, S., Balmer, D.E., Harris, S.J., Massimino, D. & Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2022. Impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on capacity to monitor bird populations: a case study using the UK Breeding Bird Survey. Bird Study View at journal website (DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2021.2019187)
Harris, S.J., Massimino, D., Balmer, D.E., Eaton, M.A., Noble, D.G., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Woodcock, P. & Gillings, S. 2021. The Breeding Bird Survey 2020. Research Report no. 736. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk ISBN: 978-1-912642-28-1
Brlík, V., Šilarová, E., Škorpilová, J., Alonso, H., Anton, M., Aunins, A., Benkö, Z., Biver, G., Busch, M., Chodkiewicz, T., Chylarecki, P., Coombes, D., de Carli, E., del Moral, J.C., Derouaux, A., Escandell, V., Eskildsen, D.P., Fontaine, B., Foppen, R.P.B., Gamero, A., Gregory, R.D., Harris, S., Herrando, S., Hristov, I., Husby, M., Ieronymidou, C., Jiquet, F., Kålås, J.A., Kamp, J., Kmecl, P., Kurlavičius, P., Lehikoinen, A., Lewis, L., Lindström, Å., Manolopoulos, A., Martí, D., Massimino, D., Moshøj, C., Nellis, R., Noble, D., Paquet, A., Paquet, J.-Y., Portolou, D., Ramírez, I., Redel, C., Reif, J., Ridzoň, J., Schmid, H., Seaman, B., Silva, L., Soldaat, L., Spasov, S., Staneva, A., Szép, T., Florenzano, G.T., Teufelbauer, N., Trautmann, S., van der Meij, T., van Strien, A., van Turnhout, C., Vermeersch, G., Vermouzek, Z., Vikstrøm, T., Voříšek, P., Weiserbs, A. & Klvaňová, A. 2021. Long-term and large-scale multispecies dataset tracking population changes of common European breeding birds. Scientific Data View at journal website (DOI: 10.1038/s41597-021-00804-2) 9pp
Woodward, I.D., Massimino, D., Hammond, M.J., Barber, L., Barimore, C., Harris, S.J., Leech, D.I., Noble, D.G., Walker, R.H., Baillie, S.R. & Robinson, R.A. 2021. BirdTrends 2020: Trends in numbers, breeding success and survival for UK breeding birds. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk Link to publication

Other Publications

Bird and ringing reports for the Calf of Man Bird Observatory, the Rye Meads Ringing Group and Skomer Island. 

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