Thanks to the BTO's Cuckoo Tracking Project we are learning more about Cuckoo migration. There are still important questions to answer, so we have fitted four more Cuckoos with satellite tags this spring. Senan, Valentine, Tennyson and Nussey join eight existing birds, all of which should make their way south during the next few weeks. Follow their exciting journeys.More Details
Together, the UK’s gardens cover a larger area than all National Nature Reserves combined and arguably form our most important nature reserve. As towns and city become more densely populated and expand into the wider countryside, gardens are becoming an increasingly vital refuge for wildlife. But which birds, mammals, minibeasts and other wildlife do we share our gardens with, and why? And more importantly, what can we do to help support them? We want to carry out the UK’s biggest ever garden audit, building a picture of the resources available for wildlife in gardens up and down the country, and surveying some of the wild visitors they attract.
The latest BTO/RSPB/JNCC Wetland Bird Survey report has been published, covering the period July 2017 to June 2018. Explore all the data and trends, including waterbird totals for all WeBS sites – from 382,523 on The Wash to just 18 on Welton village pond – on the WeBS Report Online, where you can also map the latest Low Tide Counts survey results.
The latest report includes articles focusing on Curlew, Barnacle Goose, Redshank, Shelduck, and the waterbirds of rivers. The latest wintering waterbird population estimates are also included, revealing which species are the most abundant of the 13 million waterbirds that winter in the UK.
With data available... read more
Tickets are now on sale for Spurn Migration Festival 2019. The festival runs from 6-8 September and will celebrate the autumn migration of birds. The keynote talk is by Professor of Ornithology, Per Alstrom, and will be followed during the weekend by many others exploring the spectacle of migration, and of course there will be birds. Don't miss out, get your tickets now.
This is a busy and pivotal role within the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) team, acting as the first point of contact with volunteer counters. WeBS Core Counts is a year-round survey of waterbirds on a range of wetland habitats in the UK, with over 3,000 volunteers counting over 5,000 count areas. The post-holder is assisted in this task by a network of 140 volunteer Local Organisers who recruit and support counters within counties and large wetland sites around the UK.
We are looking for someone personable and methodical, who is able to support our volunteers and ensure a high standard of data quality. You will be comfortable helping others with data entry and be able to clearly explain WeBS survey aims and methods. You will ensure volunteer counters and organisers feel their... read more
The new BBS report shows the impact that severe 2018 weather may have had on some of our birds. The Beast from the East hit some of our smaller resident birds whilst strong desert winds hampered spring migration for some of our summer migrants.
As part of our quest to improve our understanding of bird migration we have been satellite-tracking Cuckoos that breed here in the UK. This work has revealed the wintering grounds of UK Cuckoos in Africa and the routes they take to get there and back. We've been tracking twelve Cuckoos since last summer and now the first birds have made it back the the UK. Find out which Cuckoos are the first to arrive back in the UK.
Widely recognised for his work on the study and conservation of owls and raptors, biologist and professional ecologist Colin Shawyer has collaborated with the BTO on projects such as Project Barn Owl (1995-1997) and the Barn Owl Monitoring Programme (2000-2009). As founder and co-ordinator of the Barn Owl Conservation Network (BOCN), Colin is in contact with Barn Owl ringers and nest recorders across the country and oversees the annual monitoring of over 3,000 nest boxes.
The Barn Owl breeding season was poor throughout much of Great Britain in 2018, characterised by nests failing with eggs and small chicks—especially so for pairs that laid in early-to-mid April—and successful nests averaging broods of only 1.5–1... read more
The BTO website was relaunched on Wednesday 1 May, with changes to the way it is presented and how content is organised.
Technically, it should better adapt to a range of devices, and the organisation of content is changing to help visitors better understand what the BTO does and what it can offer them.
In addition, the relaunch will bring several new types of content that we hope users will find valuable, including case studies on BTO work that has made an impact, a new blog discussing the context and challenges of what BTO does, and articles on understanding birds and developing skills.
Below are some key... read more
The latest results from the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey, to which BBS volunteers contribute, have just been published. Butterfly numbers can fluctuate markedly between years in response to weather conditions and the relatively hot and dry 2018 season was generally good for butterflies such as the rare Black Hairstreak and Large Blue, as well as the more common Brown Argus and Speckled Wood.
Nine of our satellite tagged Cuckoos have made it to West Africa, from where they will prepare to cross the Sahara desert in the next few weeks and make their way back to their breeding grounds in Britain. Follow the Cuckoos as they undertake their amazing spring migration.
Spurn Bird Observatory Trust and the BTO are welcoming all young birders to take part in something special, the Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder event. This Spurn Migration Festival tradition is named after the late Martin Garner, a knowledgable, inspiring and encouraging birder who shared his expertise and passion for birds with so many, something this event aspires to do.
Anyone interested in taking part should submit an online questionnaire where they showcase their birding life and knowledge of birds. Six finalists are then chosen to attend the Spurn Migration Festival for a days birding with our expert judges in a welcoming, friendly environment. The day involves seawatching, experiencing visible migration, watching birds on the Humber and in the bushes and answering a... read more
The data entry system for the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS) has been updated. The functionalities remain largely the same, with some small improvements of course! Guidance is available covering both BBS and WBBS data entry on the BBS Online webpage. Video Tutorials on the new look system will follow shortly.
Do you live in the uplands, or could you visit during May or June? Looking for holiday inspiration?
We're looking for volunteers for BBS Upland Rovers, an initiative which encourages one-off visits to carefully selected rarely-covered upland Breeding Bird Survey squares. Visit the Upland Rovers webpage and check out the sign-up map for 2019.
Start planning your adventures!
February 14 sees the start of the 22nd National Nest Box Week. To encourage people to put up a nest box the BTO has produced a new 'essential guide' full of useful information on what to look for when buying, siting and looking after a nest box. The free 24-page guide is available from gbw [at] bto.org or can be downloaded here.
Robinson, Sherwood and Thomas have all made northerly flights during the last few days, undertaking the very first leg of the long journey back to the UK. The average spring arrival date for Cuckoo in the UK is 19 April - they have a long way to go yet, follow their progress here.
The latest State of birds in Wales report shows mixed fortunes. Urban populations of House Sparrow, Feral Pigeon and Collared Dove show increases, along with woodland bird populations, whilst both lowland and upland farmland birds continue to fall. Welsh House Martins are holding their own but Starlings are in steep decline. Read more here
The latest update of the Indicator for Terrestrial Breeding Birds in Scotland has just been published. More than 80% of woodland bird species have shown marked increases. Farmland birds are up 14%, whilst the trend for upland birds shows a decline of almost 20%. Chiffchaff and Blackcap show some of the largest increases, with Dotterel and Curlew showing serious falls in numbers. Read more here.