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
The Dilys Breese Medal was awarded to Mary Colwell for her work over the years in ensuring BTO science is heard by a wide audience, via her work at Radio 4 as a Producer on natural history series such as Saving Species and Shared Planet. More recently Mary has raised the profile of the plight of the Curlew in Britain, undertaking a walk from the west coast of Ireland to the East coast of England, raising money for the BTO Curlew Appeal and highlighting the scientific contribution BTO has made.
Bardsey Bird Observatory received the Marsh Award for Local Ornithology for the work they have undertaken to digitise all of their observations, mostly from handwritten paper logbooks, and upload this into BirdTrack and making them accessible to all, and for their encouragement of young... read more
The results of the Garden Bird Feeding Survey (GBFS) 2016-17 are now available! Mild weather conditions meant a quiet winter on the feeders, until a cold snap in late January, early February saw more birds flocking into gardens, including high numbers of Goldcrest. In total 236,126 birds were seen using garden food sources, by the 241 garden birdwatchers taking part. Our unofficial national bird the Robin pipped the Blue Tits and Blackbirds to the post as the most recorded species, being seen in 100% of gardens. A suburban garden in Newcastle-upon-Tyne was the most species rich, with 40 species recorded over the winter.
GBFS is the smaller, sister survey to Garden BirdWatch, running since 1970. It specifically charts the use of food... read more
National waterbird monitoring in the UK began 70 years ago with National Wildfowl Counts in 1947. In the 2017/18 recording year, WeBS is celebrating that long tradition of counting waterbirds which continues today with the thousands of WeBS counters who contribute waterbird counts to the scheme each month.
The WeBS team, partners and conference attendees at Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Lancashire on 30th September 2017 celebrated WeBS and what we have learned from it and predecessor schemes about our waterbirds over the decades.
See the latest issue of the WeBS Newsletter for an overview of the day.
A weekly lottery with a difference! In our new Unity lottery, for every £1 you play, 50p will go straight to our work so the more people that play, the more money we receive. The draw takes place each Saturday and each entry costs just £1 per week. Each time you have the chance to win a £25,000 jackpot, plus other fantastic cash prizes, and at the same time, you're helping to raise funds for our work looking out for birds.
We're excited about exhibiting at the New Scientist Live event in London for the first time. Voted Show of the year in 2016, New Scientist Live is an exciting festival of ideas taking place at ExCeL London from Thursday 28 September until Sunday 1 October. The event boasts hundreds of exibitors featuring the biggest, best and most provocative science with five immersive zones covering Humans, Engineering, Technology, Earth and Cosmos. If you visit the event, look out for us on stand 548.
Mandarin and Wood Duck are stunningly beautiful birds which are commonly encountered and can be tricky to identify. Mandarins are frequently seen in the UK and breed in the wild, with a well-established population. Wood Duck, commonly kept in collections, can also be found. We've just published the latest in our growing collection of bird identification videos to help with the task of identifying and separating Wood Duck and Mandarin.
The latest ringing and Nest Recording figures are out and show that during 2016 over one million birds were ringed. While Blue Tit was the most ringed species, Goldfinch made number two with 55,754 individuals ringed. Seventeen new longevity records were set, 46,272 nest records were received, and Tree Sparrow was in the top five species for nest record monitoring. Take a look at the report online here.
The UK holds almost a third of the global breeding population of Curlew. Declines here have been greatest in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and in Ireland the breeding range has contracted by a massive 78%. By analysing data, collected by thousands of volunteer birdwatchers as part of the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), BTO has, for the first time, documented how a range of different pressures may be responsible for this national decline.
New technology continues to give us a better understanding of the movements and behaviours of a wide range of species, helping us inform science and conservation. BTO has now produced our own GPS tracking devices, which use the mobile phone network, as part of the Movetech Telemetry partnership. These are now available to the wider research community. Find out more about some of the exciting new stories we are discovering.
Every year thousands of people descend on Rutland Water Nature Reserve during the third week of August to enjoy the birdwatching version of Glasonbury, Birdfair! Taking place from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th August, the event plays host to hundreds of exhibitors, talks, activities and workshops. If you are attending, come and see us on our main stand in marquee three, visit the bird ringing demonstration, and why not join one of our free guided walks?
The latest BBS Report is a bit of a roller coaster ride. In the UK as a whole some of our woodland birds are having a bit of a rough ride; Willow Tit down by 80% and Wood Warbler by 57%, whilst others are reaching dizzying heights; Nuthatch up by 90% and Chiffchaff by 109%. Read more in the full 2016 BBS report.
BTO’s volunteer-based monitoring schemes are integral to the wild bird indicators, providing constituent trends for more than just species. However, BBS participants who undertake butterfly surveys on their one-km squares are also contributing to the published trends in widespread butterfly species. The Priority Species indicator includes trends from a wide range of taxa such as BBS-derived trends for Brown Hare as well as many bird species. In terms of threats, the Non-Native Species indicator shows the increasing spread of a selection of invasive non-native species known to have negative environmental impact. On the plus side, involvement in conservation activities by the voluntary sector continues to... read more
Hummingbird Hawk-moths have been seen in a record number of gardens so far this season, particularly in the south and east of England. They were seen in 2% of gardens in June compared to an average of 0.5%. This species does not normally over-winter here, and the population is replenished each year by new migrants. As such, numbers can vary considerably from year to year. It has been particularly warm this June in eastern parts of England – more than 2.5°C above average according to the Met Office – and warm air drawn up from the south may have helped to carry them to our shores. Find out more.
Issue 5 of LifeCycle contains the annual breeding season results for 2016 as well as a four-page special celebrating the 35th and 20th anniversaries of CES and RAS. In addition, there are articles on finding Yellowhammer nests, the work of the Treshnish Isles Auk Ringing Group, recording moult, using thermal-imaging cameras to locate birds and much more.
Celebrating the natural spectacle that is bird migration, the Spurn Migration Festival 2017 will take place 8–10 September and once again BTO will be there. Don’t miss Professor Ian Newton talking about migration, the various walks and workshops, and migration in action. Tickets for the event are on sale and selling fast, get yours here.
Flight Lines, due to be published in late August, brings together the latest research and stunning artwork to tell the stories of our summer migrants. The book, which is being offered as a new joiner gift, is available at a special pre-publication price. Find out more about the book.
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