Sarah Harris

BBS National Organiser

Sarah is responsible for managing the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey incorporating 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

Massimino, D., Harris, S.J. & Gillings, S. 2020. Phenological mismatch between breeding birds and their surveyors and implications for estimating population trends. Journal of Ornithology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1007/s10336-020-01821-5)
Lehikoinen, A., Brotons, L., Calladine, J., Campedelli, T., Escandell, V., Flousek, J., Grueneberg, C., Haas, F., Harris, S.J., Herrando, S., Husby, M., Jiguet, F., Atle, J., Åke, K., Romain, L., Blas, L., Clara, M., Gianpiero, P., Thomas, C., Hans, S., Sirkiä, P.M., Teufelbauer, N. & Trautmann, S. 2019. Declining population trends of European mountain birds. Global Change Biology 25 (part 2) : 577-588 Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14522) 12pp
Massimino D., Harris S.J., Gillings, S 2018. Evaluating spatiotemporal trends in terrestrial mammal abundance using data collected during bird surveys. Biological Conservation 226 : 153-167 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.07.026)
Martay, B., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Harris, S.J. & Gillings, S. 2018. Monitoring landscape-scale environmental changes with citizen scientists: Twenty years of land use change in Great Britain. Journal for Nature Conservation 44 : 33-42 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.jnc.2018.03.001)
Hayhow D.B., Ausden M.A., Bradbury R.B., Burnell D., Copeland A.I., Crick H.Q.P., Eaton M.A., Frost T., Grice P.V., Hall C., Harris S.J., Morecroft M.D., Noble D.G., Pearce-Higgins J.W., Watts O., Williams J.M. 2017. The State of the UK's Birds 2017. RSPB, BTO, WWT, DAERA, JNCC, NE and NRW, Sandy, Bedfordshire
Hayhow D.B., Bond A.L., Douse A., Eaton M.A., Frost T., Grice P.V., Hall C., Harris, S.J., Havery S., Hearn R.D., Noble D.G., Oppel S., Williams J., Win I. and Wotton S. 2017. The State of the UK's Birds 2016. RSPB, BTO, WWT, DAERA, JNCC, NE, NRW and SNH, Sandy, Bedfordshire

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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