Latest news
The long term trends of woodland, farmland and upland birds in Scotland

Scottish Breeding Bird Indicator updated

Thursday, November 28, 2019 - 09:30

The latest update of the Indicator for Terrestrial Breeding Birds in Scotland has just been released. These official statistics, published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), track the abundance of Scotland’s terrestrial breeding birds using results from the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey and other sources. The latest figures show a positive long-term trend for the woodland bird indicator in Scotland, with this group increasing by 58% between 1994 and 2018. The long-term trend for the farmland bird indicator is also positive, with Goldfinch, Whitethroat and Reed Bunting among the species contributing to a 12% increase. The upland bird indicator declined by 15% during this period. Short-term changes suggest that the so-called 'Beast from the East' had a negative impact on many resident species.

Our ability to report changes in such detail is a testament to the power of citizen science, and highlights the valuable contributions of volunteers throughout Scotland. 

Read more about the latest Scottish indicator.

More Details
Greenfinch by Edmund Fellowes

Spring Raffle winning numbers

11 Apr 2018

The winning ticket numbers have now been drawn for the Spring Raffle 2018 and can be viewed here. Winners are currently in the process of being contacted. A massive thanks to everyone who took part and helped to raise almost £42,000 in ticket sales and donations to fund our work looking out for birds. 

Cuckoo by Colin Brown/BTO

Two tagged Cuckoos almost back in UK

09 Apr 2018

During the weekend we received locations from the tags of PJ and Selborne that showed they had both arrived in France. PJ is currently only 553km from home, whilst Selborne is a little further away at 811km. Whilst it looks like PJ could arrive back first, Selborne could still win the race. Follow them both home.

Spotted Flycatcher. Photograph by John Harding

A northern powerhouse

08 Apr 2018

The latest Breeding Bird Survey report, which has just been published, shows a 66% increase for Spotted Flycatcher during 2011–2016 and a 21% upturn for Willow Warbler in Scotland over the last 23 years. In England, both of these birds are in trouble. Read the full 2017 BBS report to find out more.

Grey Heron by Simon Gillings

BTO Heronries Census - 90 not out.

22 Mar 2018

2018 marks the 90th anniversary for BTO’s longest running survey, which has been carried out annually since 1928, and, as far as anyone is aware, is the longest for any breeding bird in the world. To celebrate BTO is asking birdwatchers to tell them about any heronries they see; adding even more information to this incredibly long-running study. Heronries can be added by clicking on the location in the vacant sites map.

Barn Owls

Nocturnal Animal Event postponed

16 Mar 2018

Due to bad weather being forecast, we've decided to postpone the Thetford event on Saturday March 17  till next Saturday, March 24. To attend you will need to book free tickets again using the new event page.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused, and hope to see those that can attend next week.

Greenfinch by Jill Pakenham

BTO Spring raffle closes Good Friday

14 Mar 2018

There's only a matter of hours left to enter our Spring Raffle which closes at 11.59 pm on 29 March, the day before Good Friday. Tickets are just £1 each and will support our work looking out for Britain's birds. By taking part you'll be in with the chance of winning a fantastic guided birdwatching trip for two to western Spain with Extremadura Birding! There’s also a £750 cash prize and Ark Wildlife Vouchers to be spent on garden and wildlife products. You need to be over 16 years old and live in mainland Britain to enter.

Volunteer fieldworker by Dawn Balmer

The 2018 BBS season

12 Mar 2018

Can you spare two mornings to walk a BBS 1-km square and count the birds present between April and June? Data collected is used in research and to produce annual population trends for over 100 breeding birds across the UK. If you know your birds by sight and sound, please get in touch with your Regional Organiser to find a square near you.

For existing BBS volunteers, we have online videos to assist with data input and a twitter account, @BBS_birds. Thanks for taking part and here's to a successful 2018 survey season!

Greenfinch by Jill Pakenham

Feed the birds? Scientists highlight risks of disease at garden bird feeders

12 Mar 2018

Wild birds are at risk of a number of serious diseases at our garden bird feeders, according to a collaborative study led by scientists from international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

The study found that while there are multiple benefits of additional food resources for wild birds, particularly during the harsher winter months, garden feeding can also promote the transmission of some diseases – not least by encouraging birds to repeatedly congregate in the same location, often bringing them into regular contact with other species they wouldn’t otherwise interact with so closely in the wider environment. Risks can be increased if hygiene at feeding stations is... read more

BBS form, David Tipling

Submitting BBS data for 2018

12 Mar 2018

There are now three tutorial videos available, covering three aspects of the BBS Online system to help those using the online system to submit and edit 2017 data:

Logging in and entering data

Mapping and editing your route  

Editing data

All three can be found on the BBS-Online webpage, along with further information on the online system. Remember, when entering data; using the tab button on the keyboard to move from one data entry... read more

Peregrine by Andy Mason

Peregrines hit new heights

07 Mar 2018

The latest population estimate, just published, shows that the breeding numbers of Peregrine Falcon in the UK have hit a historic high, with particularly large increases in England. The survey estimates the breeding population at 1,769 pairs, an increase of 22% since 2002. Read an overview of the latest findings.

Early bird prize draw closes 28 Feb

27 Feb 2018

Be quick to be in with the chance to win one of five early bird prizes of £50 in our Spring Raffle. Enter by the end of 28 February to go in this additional draw and still be in with the chance to win a fantastic guided birdwatching trip for two to western Spain, £750 cash or £100 Ark Wildlife Voucher. You need to be over 16 years old and live in mainland Britain to enter. Tickets are £1 each and you can play online here. The main draw closes 29 March. 

Greenfinch by Edmund Fellowes

Spring Raffle launches

14 Feb 2018

Enter our Spring Raffle to support our work for Britain's birds and you'll be in with the chance of winning a fantastic guided birdwatching trip for two to western Spain with Extremadura Birding! There’s also a £750 cash prize and Ark Wildlife Vouchers to be spent on garden and wildlife products. You need to be over 16 years old and live in mainland Britain to enter. Tickets are £1 each and the closing date is 29 March. Additionally there’s five early bird prizes of £50 each to be drawn from those who enter by 28 February. Find out more and play online

Hedgehog by Sarah Kelman

The State of Britain's Hedgehogs 2018

07 Feb 2018

The report by People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), indicates worrying declines of Hedgehogs in our countryside, but paints a slightly happier picture about urban areas. Whilst Hedgehogs are thought to have declined from approximately a third of towns and cities since 2000, the rate of decline is slowing. In fact, numbers appear to be growing in some areas. ReadThe State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018 report.

Guillemot by Edmund Fellowes/BTO

Spring migration begins

02 Feb 2018

The weather might still be wintry and the temperatures low but for some of our birds, spring migration has begun. Fieldfares and Redwings are making their way east, auks are moving back north and wildfowl numbers are building on our inland and coastal wetlands, as they too begin the first leg of their migration. For more check out the latest BTO migration blog

Nuthatch by Edmund Fellowes/bto

NNBW 2018

02 Feb 2018

Valentine’s Day will see the start of National Nest Box Week 2018, encouraging people across the UK to put up a nest box and provide a safe space for some of our hole-nesting birds. For more information on the different types of nest box, how to make them and where to put them, check out the BTO’s new guide to nest boxes, due out in March.

Cuckoo by Steve Ashton

Summer is on its way

22 Jan 2018

This year’s Cuckoos are starting the long journey back to the UK, and we see some of them moving north from their winter locations in Africa. PJ has moved 761km (473 miles) north from his mid-winter location in Angola. Selborne, Peckham, Victor and Larry have all turned north too. Follow them as they make their way back.

Bullfinch by John Harding

Recording your garden birds 2018

10 Jan 2018

It’s a new year, a new start and a great time to appreciate the birds on our doorsteps. We have some planting ideas to help you create a bird friendly garden, and information on which supplementary foods to use to attract different species. RSPB host their annual Big Garden Watch event 27 – 29 January and if you are taking part in this, you might also enjoy the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch Survey, monitoring garden birds and other wildlife throughout the year.


Bird winners and losers

22 Dec 2017

The 2017 BirdTrends report has just been published and highlights the rapid and continuing decline of our Greenfinch population, which has declined by 59% in just ten years. Our annual BirdTrends report is a one-stop shop for information about the population status of the common breeding birds of the wider UK countryside. The data covered in the report were gathered by thousands of volunteer ‘citizen scientists’ looking out for birds in every habitat – from the streets of Cambridge to the slopes of the Cairngorms.

Blackcap by Gary Loader

Return of the winter Blackcaps - a geolocator story

21 Dec 2017

Last year researchers from the BTO, Oxford University, and Exeter University began teaming up with bird ringers and garden owners across Britain and Ireland to study the Blackcaps that visit our gardens in winter. Last winter 36 Blackcaps were fitted with geolocators, miniature devices that track movements throughout the year; however, the birds must be recaptured in order to retrieve the device and data, which can be a challenge. We now have an exciting new update to report - find out the latest on the Demog Blog.

Cover image of LifeCycle Issue 6

LifeCycle Issue 6

21 Dec 2017

Issue 6 of LifeCycle is now online. This edition features articles on whoosh netting in your garden, spring trapping Red Kites and developing a nestbox project for Willow Tits. There is also a review of a new sexing and ageing guide for ducks, a tester’s view of Demography Online as well as details of how to get involved in a new research project on Blackcaps.


Related content