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BBWC Home > Contents > Introduction > The aims of this report
1.3 The aims of this report
This report is the latest in a series of reports that are used by conservation practitioners as a ready-reference guide to recent changes in status of breeding birds in the UK. By publishing it on the BTO website, we aim to make it available to a much wider audience, especially BTO members and the general birdwatching public. We also hope that it provides a useful resource for schools, colleges and universities, the media, ecological consultants, decision-makers, local government, and the more general world of industry and commerce. In summary, its aims are:
1) To provide to as wide as possible a readership a species-by-species overview of the trends in breeding population size and reproductive success of birds covered by BTO monitoring schemes since the 1960s, at the UK or UK-country scale.
2) To provide warning alerts to JNCC and Country Agencies and other conservation bodies concerning worrying declines in population size or reproductive success, with special reference to species on the UK red and amber lists.

This document is the result of the sustained fieldwork of many thousands of the BTO's volunteer supporters. Without their enthusiasm for collecting these hard-won facts, the cause of conservation in the UK would be very much the poorer.The data we present here include information on distributions, from breeding-season and winter atlas projects, and on estimates of the absolute size of breeding populations, which are reported regularly by the Avian Population Estimates Panel (Stone et al. 1997, Baker et al. 2006). Colonial seabirds, which are well covered by the recently published results of Seabird 2000 (Mitchell et al. 2004) and by the JNCC's Seabird Monitoring Programme (Mavor et al. 2005), and the majority of species covered by the Rare Breeding Birds Panel (Ogilvie & RBBP 2004), are not included here. Wintering populations of waterfowl are covered by the Wetland Bird Survey annual reports (e.g. Collier et al. 2005) and by the WeBS alerts system (Maclean et al. 2005).

The main emphasis of this report is on trends in the abundance and demography of individual species. The data on trends in abundance also provide the basis for multi-species indicators of bird population changes (Gregory et al. 2004). The Wild Bird Indicator has been adopted as one of the UK Government's 15 headline Quality of Life indicators. Furthermore, the related Farmland Bird Indicator is now being used as the basis of the Government's target for farmland bird recovery. This approach is now being extended more widely through a collaboration between EBCC, BirdLife and RSPB to produce pan-European bird indicators.

The report is the latest in a series, begun in 1997, produced under the BTO's partnership with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (on the behalf of Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Countryside Council for Wales, and the Environment and Heritage Service in Northern Ireland) as part of its programme of research into nature conservation. Only the first two reports were published as paper reports, with subsequent ones being produced solely as web documents. A complete list of all the previous reports and links to those published online can be found here.

Section 2 - Methodology

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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., 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. (2006)
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2005.
BTO Research Report No. 435. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

Pages maintained by Susan Waghorn and Iain Downie: Last updated 11 November, 2008