About BTO

Bearded Tit. Colin Edwards
BTO - looking out for birds

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is a UK charity that focuses on understanding birds and, in particular, how and why bird populations are changing. Our vision is of a world where people are inspired by birds and informed by science.

BTO increases knowledge of birds and other wildlife, and their relationships with the environment and people, by:

  • Enabling more people to learn about birds and science and grow through participation in environmental discovery.
  • Delivering impartial, impactful and relevant science.
  • Inspiring and empowering people with an understanding of birds and the importance of knowledge.

An agenda for change

As part of our external work, building our constituency and partnerships, we have set out 10 actions that we hope will ensure BTO becomes more widely known and our work delivers even more impact for decision-makers and for society as a whole. These 10 actions form the basis of "An Agenda for Change", which was launched at the House of Lords in 2019.

Download our Agenda for Change (PDF)

To achieve our vision, we harness the skills and passion of thousands of volunteers who participate in our bird surveys and schemes. With the help of our volunteers, we have been monitoring the UK’s birds since 1933, and have extended our coverage to include other wildlife too. 

The data we collect advance our understanding of ornithology, and we use the stories our data tell to engage more people in our work and inspire action.

We are a non-campaigning organisation, and our aim is to conduct all of our work with the highest scientific rigour. This means we can produce robust evidence that can be used by anyone wishing to understand birds, other wildlife, their habitats and how different interventions may affect them.

Our data now also cover mammals, dragonflies, amphibians and bees, and we actively share this information with other NGOs. The data, information and interpretation we produce are used by various organisations and governing bodies to:

  • secure protection for special wildlife sites
  • set conservation priorities
  • shape Government policy
  • steer decisions over planning applications and new developments.

We have an active and growing family of members and volunteers who ensure the continuation of our work through their support.

Goldfinches, Edmund Fellows
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Surveys Appeal

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