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.More Details
From Friday until Sunday this week we'll be at Birdfair once again and we hope to see many of you there. If you are attending this weekend, look out for our stand in Marquee 3 and check out the popular bird ringing demonstration. Several BTO staff are presenting talks and our president Chris Packham will be announcing the winners of the Bird Photographer of the Year competition. Birdfair also provides the perfect opportunity to explore the... read more
The latest Ringing and Nest Recording Report has just been published in full. Longevity records for 11 species have been broken; at the ripe old age of 36 years, 11 months and 28 days, we have a new oldest Guillemot. Just under a million birds were ringed, and almost 50,000 nest records submitted.
The Online Ringing & Nest Recording Report has been fully updated to include Ringing and Nest Record Scheme data for 2015. This year, the pages showing the timing of breeding and moult have been expanded to include an additional nine species and to show mean weights per month for each of the featured species. Longevity records for 11 species were broken in 2015. The oldest known Ringed Plover is now nearly 2 years and 3 months older than the previous record holder; at the other end of the scale, the longevity... read more
When the BTO began ground-breaking Cuckoo tracking research in 2011, we had very little idea where these birds spent the winter or how they got there. Our latest research, just published in Nature Communications, not only reveals this information, but also shows that Cuckoos’ use of autumn migration routes helps explain population declines.
Published on 20 August, this wonderful book is available for pre-order from BTO. It includes a selection of the most stunning images from the winners and short-listed photographers who took part in the Bird Photographer of the Year award 2016. Get a sneak preview and take advantage of the BTO’s special offer now.
Cuckoo 161321 has crossed the Sahara desert earlier than any of our previously satellite-tagged Cuckoos. He is currently in Mali on the southern edge of the desert. All twelve of the Cuckoos we are following have left the UK and are spread across five different countries. Follow and sponsor them here.
The 2015 Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) report has just been published and contains some interesting results. From the continued decline of the Turtle Dove, now down by 93% in the UK since 1994, to the upward trend in Willow Warblers in Northern Ireland, the falling number of Yellowhammers in Wales, and the huge increase in the populations of some warblers in Scotland. Thank you to the dedicated BBS volunteers who make this possible. Read the 2015 BBS report.
Our new Garden Birds and other wildlife book has now been published! Written by the BTO's Kate Risely and Clare Simm, this book is packed with information about the wildlife you can find in your garden. Get the book free when you join Garden BirdWatch, or buy for just £14.99.
During the last few weeks our Cuckoo team has been out fitting satellite tags to eight more Cuckoos. This will help to see how migration might differ between years. The team will also focus more closely on how the weather, in particular the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and its life giving, drought-busting rains, affects the timing of their migration. Follow them all as they head south.
The first of our tagged Cuckoos is on his way south. Disco Tony has left his breeding area in Wales and is currently in the New Forest, Hampshire, completing the first leg of his long journey south. During the last two weeks we have tagged a further eight Cuckoos and will launch these on our website in the next few days – You can follow all of them as their journeys unfold.
Between November 2015 and February 2016 an amazing 5,183 households across Britain and Ireland took part in our Goldfinch Feeding Survey to help determine what it is about our gardens that Goldfinches are attracted to. A preliminary analysis of the data shows that sunflower hearts were overwhelmingly the preferred option, with nyger seed coming second. Natural foods were also taken with teasel and thistle the favourites. Thank you to everyone who took part!
Tickets are now on sale for the fourth annual Spurn Migration Festival. As a partner of the event BTO will be there, come and meet us and take part in the walks and talks, experience a bird ringing demo at this top migration site, and see bird migration in action. Get your ticket for Spurn Migration Festival now.
Widely recognised for his work on the study and conservation of owls and raptors, 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 regular contact with Barn Owl experts across the country and oversees the annual monitoring of over 3,000 Barn Owl nest sites.
Good vole numbers predicted for 2016
... read more
This weekend we will be out and about, with teams at Scotland’s Big Nature Festival at Levenhall Links, the Royal Welsh Spring Show in Builth Wells and at the Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair at Mannington Hall. If you're attending one of these events then look out for the BTO stands and ringing demonstrations.
Many summer migrants are declining and need our help, yet important knowledge gaps remain. Bridging those gaps is a fundamental aim of our BirdTrack research project. This will deliver new insights into bird population and distribution changes, habitat use, and migration patterns across a range of species in the UK and beyond. With your support, the BirdTrack research project can unlock the insights needed to answer some of the most pressing questions about our summer migrants.
The spring 2016 edition of Life Cycle, the BTO magazine for nest recorders and ringers, is now available online. This edition includes interpretation of the results from the 2015 breeding season (produced from data collected by nest recorders and CES and RAS ringers) and articles focusing on species including Starlings, Dippers, Wood Warblers, Stonechats and Wheatears.
The BTO have teamed up with Spurn Bird Observatory Trust and Next Generation Birders to find their Young Birder of The year. The winner will be decided in a final round of birdwatching at Migfest 2016. Might you have what it takes to be young birder of the year? Find out here
The latest BTO/RSPB/JNCC Wetland Bird Survey report is published today, summarising the efforts of thousands of volunteer counters between July 2014 and June 2015. Explore waterbird numbers at a wetland site near you and view the latest species trends on the updated WeBS Report Online interface. Read the report to find out which waterbirds have recently been Red listed, the story behind the rapidly increasing Crane index, waterbirds making use of milder conditions in Finland, and much more.
All of our satellite tagged Cuckoos have made it back to their breeding sites. For Vigilamus this coincided with heavy snow and a temperature of minus 5, proving too much for him to cope with, whilst for David it marked the completion of four whole migration cycles. Catch up with all of the birds here.
Scottish Birdwatchers' Conference
Every year the Scottish Ornithologist's Club arrange a one-day Scottish Birdwatchers’ Conference, organised by a local branch of the SOC, in conjunction with BTO Scotland.
Bird ID (Residential, Berry Head, Devon)
Develop your bird identification skills on this weekend course for relative beginners and improvers. Expect a combination of indoor sessions covering the basics of bird identification and outdoor sessions to build your...