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
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.
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.
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
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Jubilee and Tucker Medals were awarded at the BTO’s annual conference 2017. Dr Bob Harris was the recipient of the Jubilee Medal in recognition of over forty years devotion to the Trust, whilst Dr Ken Smith was awarded the Tucker Medal for his outstanding contribution to the work of BTO since 1974. Read more about both here.
Coal Tits are seen in more gardens during the winter, and are generally recorded by at least 40% of Garden BirdWatchers in November, when they are driven to garden bird feeders by cold weather. This year is turning out to be exceptional, with Coal Tits seen in an unprecedented 70% of gardens in November! In some years they are seen in many more gardens, and research using GBW data has shown that their presence is affected by seasonal availability of tree seed crops in the wider countryside.
We know from our research that the food and water provided in gardens can be a lifeline, particularly at times of cold weather and reduced natural food. With all this activity and more cold weather forecast, it is a great time to start paying more attention to the bird life in your garden,... read more
Just published, the latest State of the UK's Birds Report highlights how our birds are doing. Some of our summer migrants are arriving earlier, the distributions of others are moving north and some are just beginning to colonise. The report is only possible due to the efforts of volunteers who take part in BTO surveys.
The recent indicators reveal continuing recent declines in farmland birds, seabirds and wintering waterbirds. Breeding birds of woodlands, wetlands and waterways have been relatively stable in the past five years, following earlier declines in some groups. Based almost entirely on data collected by volunteers contributing to national bird monitoring schemes, such as the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey and the BTO/RSPB/JNCC Wetland Bird Survey, these indicators are calculated annually for Defra by BTO and RSPB.
As an insurance broker Evergreen earns commission from insurers for placing business with them, so from home to pet, car to travel, arrange your insurance with Evergreen and they will give up to 25% of their commission to BTO.
Dave Gardiner, Founder of Evergreen Insurance Services says:
“With a passion for the natural world and a desire to help charities with their vital work, I have set up Evergreen to do just this. People need insurance, whether it is for their home, car, life, holiday, their pets or business – why not try a company that has an ethical ethos and mission to give something back? I hope that like-minded people will try Evergreen for all their insurance needs. I promise that for every £1 in commission I earn, I will donate back 10% in Year 1, 15% in... read more
Unlocking the science to reveal the state of nature
David Noble takes a sober look at the latest State of Nature Report.
What effect might annual releases of non-native gamebirds be having on native biodiversity?
Henrietta Pringle reveals the work behind a recent paper on gamebirds and predation