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Birds in the UK are declining

They are still under threat from pressures like biodiversity loss, which degrades their habitats and the environment they live in.

Woodland bird species have declined by 37% since 1970

 – our Willow Tit population by a staggering 94%.

28% of all wetland bird species have declined since 1970

– especially Lapwing, Redshank, Snipe and Common Sandpiper.

More than 50% of our breeding seabird species have declined

but some are now faring better due to conservation action.

Overall, wetland, woodland, upland and especially farmland birds have suffered significant declines.

See our article about biodiversity loss for more information.

Will you help BTO today,
so our science can provide solutions for tomorrow?

“Wherever there are birds, there is hope.”

Mehmet Murat İldan, Turkish author and playwright

Together, we can be part of the solution

The evidence we provide helps identify which conservation solutions are critical for reversing the impact of biodiversity loss on birds, other species and the wider environment.

“BTO has had a remarkable impact on policy and practice.”

BTO Science Impact Review
Independent review panel report

Solutions for breeding waders

The UK is home to 25% of the world’s breeding Curlew, but this population declined by 49% between 1995 and 2021.

Our research identified nest predation and agricultural activity as the main causes of decline, and enabled us to design conservation solutions, like our wader sensitivity map – and monitor their impact.

Supporting farmland species

Our research shows that well-designed agri-environment interventions enable farmers to support species recovery alongside productive farming.

For example, winter food provision could be reversing Skylark declines – after a 60% decline from 1970 to the 1990s, their population has risen by 9% in the last decade.

The value of protected areas

A recent peer-reviewed BTO study revealed important new evidence that birds colonise, persist, and occur in higher numbers in protected areas.

For example, the population and range of Cetti’s Warblers – with their beautiful song – have increased across the UK, facilitated by the network of wetland nature reserves.

Why we need your support

“Saving bird species and their habitats is a long, hard road but BTO is committed to providing the robust evidence required to support bird conservation in the UK. For over 90 years we have been the UK’s leading experts in ornithological science and with more support, we can move more quickly and do even more for birds.

Donations to BTO are absolutely vital, because they allow our scientists to monitor and address the most important threats our birds face. By giving a donation you can be part of the solution to biodiversity loss and help us make a better future for the birds we all love.”

James Pearce-Higgins
Director of Science