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
Huge numbers of Redwings have been heard moving over eastern counties during the hours of darkness over the last week, and summer migrants like Chiffchaffs and Sand Martins are increasing by the day. Check what is happening and what to expect over the coming weeks by following the BTO migration blog.
This is one of the best times of the year to develop your bird identification skills. Only the earliest summer migrants are here so you have the opportunity to perfect your skills in identifying these before the other species arrive to confuse things. Get to grips with Chiffchafff quickly before the Willow Warblers arrive and perfect your Sand Martin ID before the House Martins and Swallows pour in. Check out our full range of free bird identification videos designed to help you develop your birdwatching skills this year.
With four out of the six satellite tagged Cuckoos we are currently following now in West Africa, it is only a matter of time before one of them heads north on the final leg of the journey back to the UK. At this stage any one of them could move first, follow them as they do.
This year we are part of Walk 4 Wildlife, a series of events to enable people to help protect our planet's amazing wildlife. On 19 May, thousands of primary school children will be taking part in an attempt to break a Guinness™ World Record which currently stands at 231,635 people all walking at the same time! Why not get your school to organise their own sponsored walk for BTO's work looking out for birds? In addition, there are five very different sponsored walks across the country throughout the summer.
We currently have three Cuckoos in West Africa, two staging in Ivory Coast before they make the northward journey back to the UK, and one in Nigeria at beginning the journey to his staging area further west. During the next few weeks we expect the remainder of our tagged Cuckoos to make their way into West Africa too. Follow them as they make their way back to the UK.
Entry for the BTO Raffle closed on 1 March and the winning numbers were drawn on the 7 March. Thank you to all those who entered and made donations to support our work, and to The Nestbox Company and GardenBird who kindly donated prizes. The total raised from ticket sales and donations was a fantastic £30,000 and the winning numbers are listed on our webpage. Winners are in the process of being contacted. Thank you for taking part.
February 14 marks the start of the 20th annual National Nestbox Week, organised by British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). Putting up nestboxes during the week can provide a nesting site for our treasured garden birds, many of which are struggling after a very poor year in 2016.
Our online shop has a great range of BTO branded clothing and you can enjoy FREEPOST on all orders placed this weekend. All of the products are 100% organic cotton and are ethically made in a wind-powered factory. We've got a great selection of t-shirts, jumpers and hoodies and with free postage they're even better value for money. Take a look at our branded clothing range.
Join Garden BirdWatch now and receive a free extra book to help make 2017 your wildlife gardening year. Understand and connect with your garden's rhythms and annual cycles, and contribute your sightings to our ongoing research on garden wildlife. The project is funded through an annual subscription of £17, and for a limited time only new joiners will receive two books free (RRP £25) as well as our quarterly Bird Table magazine.
Today is the last day to take part in the BTO Winter Raffle 2016/17. Entry costs from just £1 and you can play online. The deadline for entry is 11.59pm on 1 March and winners will be drawn on 7 March. By playing you will you be supporting our work looking out for birds and you'll also be in with a chance of winning one of our fantastic prizes. This year these include a £1000 cash prize, a selection of nest boxes and £100 worth of bird food. Take a look at the prizes and full term and conditions here.
Garden BirdWatch results show that more Hedgehogs were active later in the year than usual, particularly in southern and eastern areas of the UK. They were seen in 4.1% of gardens in November, which is nearly double the average (2.4%) and numbers remained high in December. This is likely due to the mild weather conditions.
Our conferences provide a great opportunity to expand your knowledge of birds and to meet other like-minded people. Join us on 18th March in York for the Yorkshire BTO Conference or in Dunfermline on the same date for the Scottish Birdwatchers' Conference. On 15th April we are holding a Members' Day at the Nunnery in Thetford, Norfolk when we'll be providing talks and workshops for members who'd like to improve their birdwatching skills and become actively involved in our monitoring work. Visit our events page to find out more.
With a growing number of cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Britain & Ireland this winter, ringing can provide important contextual information concerning the movements of wild birds. However, ringing activities need to be carried out responsibly and precautionary ringing suspensions are introduced where official Surveillance Zones are declared around outbreaks. Find out more about our advice on avian influenza and our guidelines to ringers.
Calling all young birders aged 12-18. Don't forget that to be in with a chance of securing a place at this year's BTO Bird Camp, kindly sponsored by the Cameron Bespolka Trust, you'll need to submit an application by Friday 13th January. This residential event aims to inspire young naturalists through great experiences and special insights into birds and conservation. Supported by ‘Next Generation Birders’ & ‘A Focus on Nature’, BTO Bird Camp 2017 will be a full weekend of birding, ringing, nest finding and networking.
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.
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We're proud to announce that the BirdTrack app has won the Birdwatch Product of the Year award, with the revitalised app coming top in a readers' poll! Through the new app you can now log sightings from anywhere in the world, live in the field, and add much more information about your visit and what you saw.Thanks to everyone who showed their appreciation of the new app by voting for it.
During the winter months a lack of food in the wider countryside encourages both adult and juvenile Blue Tits into gardens, to make use of feeders. However, this November BTO Garden BirdWatchers reported the lowest numbers of Blue Tits in gardens since 2003, thought to be due to a lack of young birds this year.
Information collected by British Trust for Ornithology volunteers show that 2016 was a poor breeding season for many bird species, in part due to periods of heavy spring and summer rainfall. In a reversal of fortunes from last year, conditions were better for populations in northern England and Scotland than they were in the south. See the Nest Record Scheme and Constant Effort Sites scheme preliminary breeding season report for details.
New BTO research, published today, adds to our growing body of work on the interactions between offshore wind farms and seabirds. We have published several papers on this topic in recent years, the key findings of which are summarised in our new BTO Research Note.
Christmas is just over a month away and, with Black Friday deals already available, do remember to shop online via Give as you Live and you’ll raise free funds for us each time you make a purchase! Your donation is at no cost to you. Start shopping online here or find out more about Give as you Live.
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