Herons and Scottish Islands

22 Mar 2022 | No. 2022-13

The British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Heronries Census is one of the longest running bird surveys in the world but there are knowledge gaps for Grey Herons on some of the Scottish Islands and BTO needs help to fill them.

The Grey Heron is amongst Britain’s largest birds and can be seen in a variety of different habitats that include rivers and parks in some of our busiest towns and cities. Grey Herons usually nest in colonies in trees, building large nests very close to the tree tops where they are not difficult to see but getting information on them can sometimes be more tricky.

On the Scottish islands where woodland cover is sometimes sparse, Grey Herons can also be found nesting more frequently elsewhere, including on the ground. For this reason it can be more difficult to find and monitor heronries, and it is this information that BTO is interested in; where in the Inner and Outer Hebrides do Grey Herons nest?

 Ian Woodward, Heronries Census Organiser at BTO, said ”We would love to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of heronries in these islands but to do so we need the help of those people that live there and those that visit during the early spring. In southern Britain Grey Herons begin breeding as early as February or early March but further north nesting tends to start slightly later and Grey Herons on the Hebrides may still be breeding well into May.”

The Census simply requires a count of the number of ‘apparently occupied nests’ at a heronry and the BTO would welcome all records of nesting Grey Herons from the Hebrides and other more isolated areas in Scotland. Additionally, we would welcome contributions from residents and visitors who would be willing to check previously known colonies to confirm whether or not Grey Herons are still nesting there.

For more information and how to take part, please visit the Heronries Census on the BTO website

Contact Details
Paul Stancliffe
 (BTO Media Manager)
Mobile: 07585 440910
Email: press [at] bto.org (subject: News%20release%20enquiry)

Mike Toms (Head of Communications)
Mobile 07850 500791
Email: press [at] bto.org (subject: News%20release%20enquiry)

Images are available for use alongside this News Release. These can be downloaded from this link for which you will need to enter the password Cinerea202213 alternatively, please contact press [at] bto.org quoting reference 2022-13

Notes for editors
The BTO Heronries Census began in 1928 as a one-off investigation for the journal British Birds but has matured into an annual survey still ongoing more than 90 years later. Its Grey Heron data represent the longest-running monitoring data set for any breeding bird in the world.
BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations. www.bto.org

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