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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.

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Blackbird with young bird by Moss Taylor/BTO

2016 NRS & CES preliminary breeding season results

16 Dec 2016

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.

Gulls, photograph by David Williams.jpg

Studies on seabirds and wind farms

14 Dec 2016

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.

Give as you live christmas promotion

Giving is easy this season

22 Nov 2016

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

Last year's overall winner by Andy Parkinson

Last chance to enter

16 Nov 2016

The last day of November is the closing date for this year’s Bird Photographer of The Year competition. If photographing birds is your thing, take a look at how to enter, and at last year’s winning entries.

BTO award winners by Nick Caro

BTO award winners

15 Nov 2016

The ceremony, held on the opening night of the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) Natural Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London, celebrated the contribution of some fantastic ornithologists, young and old, amateur and professional. Supported by the Marsh Christian Trust, this year’s winners were Prof Will Cresswell, of the St Andrews University, for his work on long-distance migrants and predation ecology, Dick Newell and his Action for Swifts organisation for his innovative work to reduce Swift declines, and Tony Cross and Adrienne Stratford, for their fabulous long-term Welsh Chough Project, which has included colour-ringing over 5,000 birds since 1991. Prof Pertti Saurola of the University of Helsinki collected the international award for his pioneering long-term studies on... read more

Chinese Cuckoo journeys

Amazing Cuckoo migration

08 Nov 2016

Two of the Chinese Cuckoos that were tagged in Beijing, northwest China, by a team led by BTO scientist Dr Chris Hewson, have made it to the east coast of Africa, providing brand new information for science along the way. One of them via a non-stop flight across the Indian Ocean, the other by crossing the Gulf of Oman and a flight across the deserts of Oman and Yemen. Where will they go next? Follow the Chinese Cuckoo project.

Life Cycle Issue 4

Life Cycle Issue 4

07 Nov 2016

The autumn edition of Life Cycle, the BTO magazine for nest recorders and ringers is now available online. Issue 4 contains the second in our two-part series on mist-netting waders as well as a guide to monitoring Tawny Owls and articles on tracking Nightingales, how your NRS data is informing conservation policy, a look at the impact of climate change on ducks (and what volunteers can do to help) and much more.

Life Cycle Issue 4 cover image

Life Cycle Issue 4

07 Nov 2016

The autumn edition of Life Cycle, the BTO magazine for ringers and nest recorders is now available online. Issue 4 contains the second in our two-part series on mist-netting waders as well as a guide to monitoring Tawny Owls and articles on tracking Nightingales, how your NRS data is informing conservation policy, a look at the impact of climate change on ducks (and what ringers can do to help) and much more. 

Fair Isle, The Havens by Andy Mason

Ten year health check for UK's most important bird sites

20 Oct 2016

Special Protection Areas are designated for many species under the EU Birds Directive, including all regularly occurring migrants and the additional species listed under Annex 1 of the Directive. There were 270 such UK sites classified by January 2016 covering 2.8 million hectares. As a result, they form a crucial pillar of the conservation of wild birds in the UK. The suite of sites was last reviewed in 2001 and the current report covers progress since then.

The review required the collation of a huge quantity of data, at the level of individual sites but also to produce population estimates at national (and indeed international) level to provide an understanding of the sufficiency of the SPA network to provide the intended level of conservation support. A large proportion of... read more

Turtle Dove. Photograph by Tom Streeter

Make our science count

17 Oct 2016

At the launch of the 2016 State of Nature Report, the Secretary of State for the Environment recognised Brexit as both a challenge and an opportunity. The Government’s priorities are transforming EU environmental legislation into strong protection for wildlife, and including better outcomes for wildlife in UK agri-environment support. 

Help ensure BTO work is at the heart of this decision-making process by donating to our appeal.

JWGBIRD by Niall Burton

International marine conservation comes to the Nunnery

17 Oct 2016

Last week, 18 experts from across Europe (UK, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Poland) met over five days to discuss key marine conservation issues at our Nunnery HQ. This meeting was part of the Joint ICES-OSPAR-HELCOM Expert Group on Seabirds, concerned with seabird conservation in the North Atlantic and Baltic. Topics covered included seabird bycatch and threats to European seabirds when they are outside Europe. There was also a strategic overview of monitoring of seabirds at sea using boat and aerial surveys, with a view to generating support for establishing a regular monitoring programme.

Bill the Cuckoo portrait

The One Show names Cuckoo after Bill Bailey

07 Oct 2016

BBC's The One Show viewers watched recently as a delighted and slightly bemused Bill Bailey was presented with a framed photograph of his namesake Bill the Cuckoo live on BBC1. Named by the One Show in recognition of Bill Bailey’s love of birdwatching, Bill the Cuckoo has been fitted with a satellite tag so that scientists from the British Trust for Ornithology can follow his movements in almost real-time.

Like Bill Bailey on his successful tour, Limboland, Bill the Cuckoo has also been on an epic adventure - from his UK breeding grounds to Africa where he will spend the winter. Bill the Cuckoo recently surprised us by flying back to Spain despite having already reached Africa. Unravelling such decisions is... read more

George Dunbar with BTO CEO Andy Clements and TV Presenter Mike Dilger

The Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder of the Year

28 Sep 2016

Fifteen year-old George Dunbar, from Cheshire, was named Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder of the Year, at the 2016 Spurn Migration Festival, ahead of four other young finalists and thirty young birders who entered this year's competition. Read more here.

GPS-tagged Lesser Black-backed Gull

GPS sheds new light on seabird flight heights

19 Sep 2016

New research led by the BTO has used a combination of GPS-tracking and advanced statistics to provide new insights into seabird flight heights by night and day. This study gives important information on the risk of seabirds colliding with offshore wind turbines and at a time when governments worldwide are investing in marine renewables.

State of Nature report 2016 cover

Launch of State of Nature report 2016

14 Sep 2016

David Noble, Principal Ecologist and co-author of State of Nature 2016 writes:

On 14 September 2016, the State of Nature partnership officially launched their second report (State of Nature 2016) at the Royal Society in London. Produced by a consortium of 53 diverse conservation organisations, this report provides a snapshot of the population status of almost 4,000 terrestrial, freshwater and marine species and updates the statistics in the previous and first State of Nature report in 2013. The BTO is a key player, not only contributing the population trends for most birds,... read more

Cuckoo by Edmund Fellowes

Follow that Cuckoo

07 Sep 2016

Our satellite tagged Cuckoos are well on their way to their wintering grounds. Seven birds have already successfully crossed the Sahara, whilst another four are poised to do the same during the next few days. Tagged in 2015, Peckham has just started his crossing, whilst David has just completed his fifth, making him a record breaking Cuckoo. Follow our tagged Cuckoos.

Dalmatian Pelican - Best Portrait by Bence Mate

BPOTY Exhibition

07 Sep 2016

The Bird Photographer of The Year (BPOTY) exhibition opens at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew on Saturday 10 September and is open until January 31, 2017. All of the category winning photographs will be on display, along with a selection of runner-up and commended images. The BPOTY book of the competition contains these and many more, order a copy of the Bird Photographer of the Year book today.

Migfest 2016

Migfest 2016

07 Sep 2016

The Spurn Migration Festival opens this Friday evening. We will be there all weekend and look forward to meeting our members and supporters that will be there too. Come and say hello at Westmere Farm or on one of our guided walks. It’s still not too late to get a ticket; they will be available on the day at the farm.

Mute Swan by Andy Parkinson

Bird Photographer Of The Year 2015

24 Aug 2016

Mute Swan Adult In Detail by Andy Parkinson won the overall title of Bird Photographer Of The Year 2015 but everyone will have their favourites. Check out the winning photographs from all of the categories and enjoy a free copy of the book if you join the BTO, or purchase it directly.

Spurn Migration Festival

Spurn Migration Festival 2016

23 Aug 2016

With less than three weeks to go before Migfest 2016, tickets are selling fast. Get yours here to join the BTO team celebrating migration through a series of walks, talks and live demonstrations at this premier destination for migratory birds.


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