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Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside:
their conservation status 2004

Trends in numbers and breeding performance for UK birds

• New and changed alerts

• Summary of key findings

• Choose species information

• Using this website

• Contents of this report

Yellow Wagtail © Tommy Holden

Yellow Wagtail - one of three rapidly declining
species with new alerts

Using this website

This website is a "one-stop-shop" for information about the population status of our common terrestrial birds. It is based on data gathered by many thousands of volunteers who contribute to BTO-led surveys. With one page per species, users can quickly find all the key information about trends in population size and breeding performance over the period 1967-2003 as measured by BTO monitoring schemes.

The summary of key findings provides a brief overview of our main findings this year. For each species, we provide:

  • General information concerning species' conservation listings
  • A brief summary of observed changes in the size of the population and information concerning the possible causes of these changes
  • A series of graphs and tables showing the trends and changes in population size and breeding performance over the past 35 years
  • Trends calculated from BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data, not only for the UK as a whole but also for each of its constituent countries (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • A system of Alerts that highlight population declines in any census scheme of greater than 25% or greater than 50% that have occurred over the past 5 years, 10 years, 25 years and 35 years.

The website also provides details of the field and analytical methods that were used to produce the results for each species and of the methods used to identify alerts. We discuss overall patterns of trends in abundance and breeding success, and compare the latest trend information and alerts with the Population Status of Birds list (Gregory et al. 2002). Four appendices list alerts and population changes by scheme and there is also a facility to display your own tables of population changes.

You can navigate your way around the site using links from the contents page and between sections. Alternatively use the drop-down menus assessible from the menu bar at the top of each page. The top right menu provides a drop-down list with quick access to the species accounts. To find out about other online survey results and how you can participate visit BirdWeb by clicking on the BirdWeb logo in the page footers.

The website covers the majority of British breeding birds, over 100 species in total, but excludes colonial seabirds, which are well covered by the JNCC's Seabird Monitoring Programme (Mavor et al. 2004), and those species that are already covered by the Rare Breeding Birds Panel (Ogilvie & RBBP 2003). Most wintering populations of waterfowl are well covered by the Wetland Bird Survey annual reports (Pollitt et al. 2003, Austin et al. 2004).

We value your comments on this report and particularly any suggestions on how it can be improved.


This report was written by Stephen Baillie, John Marchant, Humphrey Crick, David Noble, Dawn Balmer, Peter Beaven, Rachel Coombes, Iain Downie, Steve Freeman, Andrew Joys, David Leech, Mike Raven, Rob Robinson and Richard Thewlis. The formal citation for the report is given in the page footer.

Next page - Key findings

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This report should be cited as:
Baillie, S.R., Marchant, J.H., Crick, H.Q.P., Noble, D.G., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Coombes, R.H.,
Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Joys, A.C., Leech, D.I., Raven, M.J., Robinson, R.A. and Thewlis, R.M. (2005)
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2004.
BTO Research Report No. 385. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

Pages maintained by Susan Waghorn and Iain Downie: Last updated 10 May, 2006