Dawn Balmer

Head of Surveys

The Surveys Team at the BTO runs most of its large-scale bird surveys, including the Wetland Bird Survey, Breeding Bird Survey, BirdTrack, Waterways Breeding Bird Survey and Heronries Census. In addition, Dawn also maintains and coordinates the Regional Network, BTO's network of volunteer Regional Representatives. She also has responsibility for Regional Conferences.

Interests & Responsibilities

The Surveys Team organises volunteer-based surveys to collect the data that are core to the BTO’s work on bird populations, including population estimates, trends and distribution. Dawn has a long-term interest in migration and movements of birds and population dynamics and was the Atlas Coordinator for Bird Atlas 2007–11.  Dawn is Secretary of the European Bird Census Council and Chair of the Rare Breeding Birds Panel.

Other Information

Director of British Birds and Editorial Board Member of British Birds, Trustee of the Eric Hosking Charitable Trust and writes regularly for British Wildlife. Member of the British Birds Rarities Committee and former member of the British Ornithologists' Union Records Committee.

Dawn is a keen birdwatcher, ringer, general naturalist and enjoys photography.

The Bird Atlas 2007–11 team were recipients of the 2014 RSPB Medal.


BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, Polytechnic South West, Plymouth 198891.

Recent BTO Publications

O’Hanlon, N.J., Harris, S.J., Thaxter, C.B., Boersch-Supan, P.H., Robinson, R.A., Balmer, D.E. & Burton, N.H.K. 2024. Seabird population and demographic monitoring in the UK: a review and recommendations for future sampling. Research Report no. 754. ISBN: 978-1-912642-49-6
O'Hanlon, N.J., van Bemmelen, R.S.A., Snell, K.R.S., Conway, G.J, Thaxter, C.B., Aiton, H., Aiton, D., Balmer, D.E., Are Hanssen, S., Calladine, J.R., Hammer, S., Harris, S.J., Moe, B., Schekkerman, H., Tulp, I. & Humphreys, E.M. 2024. Cross population comparison of complex migration strategies in a declining oceanic seabird. Marine Ecology Progress Series 730 : 113-129 View at journal website (DOI: 10.3354/meps14533)
Stanbury, A.J., Balmer, D.E., Eaton, M.A., Grice, P.V., Khan, N.Z., Orchard, J.M. & Wotton, S.R. 2023. The status of the UK breeding European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur population in 2021. Bird Study View at journal website (DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2023.2256511)
Howard, C., Marjakangas, E.-M., Morán-Ordóñez, A., Milanesi, P., Abuladze, A., Aghababyan, K., Ajder, V., Arkumarev, V., Balmer, D.E., Bauer, H.-G., Beale, C.M., Bino, T., Ali Boyla, K., Burfield, I.J., Burke, B., Caffrey, B., Chodkiewicz, T., Del Moral, J.C., Dumbovic Mazal, V., Fernández, N., Fornasari, L., Gerlach, B., Godinho, C., Herrando, S., Ieronymidou, C., Johnston, A., Jovicevic, M., Kalyakin, M., Keller, V., Knaus, P., Kotrošan, D., Kuzmenko, T,, Leitão, D., Lindström, Å., Maxhuni, Q., Mihelič, T., Mikuska, T., Molina, B., Nagy, K., Noble, D., Jostein Øien, I., Paquet, J.-Y., Pladevall, C., Portolou, D., Radišić, D., Rajkov, S., Rajković, D.Z., Raudonikis, L., Sattler, T., Saveljić, D., Shimmings, P., Sjenicic, J., Šťastný, K., Stoychev, K., Strus, I., Sudfeldt, C., Sultanov, E., Szép, T., Teufelbauer, N., Uzunova, D., van Turnhout, C.A.M., Velevski, M., Vikstrøm, T., Vintche 2023. Local colonisations and extinctions of European birds are poorly explained by changes in climate suitability. Nature Communications 14 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-39093-1)
Marjakangas, E.-L., Bosco, L., Versluijs, M., Xu, Y., Santangeli, A., Holopainen, S., Mäkeläinen, S., Herrando, S., Keller, V., Voříšek, P., Brotons, L., Johnston, A., Princé, K., Willis, S.G., Aghababyan, K., Ajder, V., Balmer, D.E., Bino, T., Boyla, K.A., Chodkiewicz, T., del Moral, J.C., Mazal, V.D., Ferrarini, A., Godinho, C., Gustin, M., Kalyakin, M., Knaus, P., Kuzmenko, T., Lindström, Å., Maxhuni, Q., Molina, B., Nagy, K., Radišić, D., Rajkov, S., Rajković, D.Z., Raudoniki, L., Sjeničić, J., Stoychev, S., Szép, T., Teufelbauer, N., Ursul, S., van Turnhout, C.M., Velevski, M., Vikstrøm, T., Wilk, T., Voltzit, O., Øien, I.J., Sudfeldt, C., Gerlach, B. & Lehikoinen, A. 2023. Ecological barriers mediate spatio-temporal shifts of bird communities at a continental scale. PNAS Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2213330120)
Heywood, J.J.N., Massimino, D., Balmer, D.E., Kelly, L., Noble, D.G., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Woodcock, P., Wotton, S., Gillings, S. & Harris, S.J. 2023. The Breeding Bird Survey 2022. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk ISBN: 978-1-912642-53-3 36pp

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