BTO has a long history of working on migrants, from the first use of bird rings to look at the movements of birds. Our current work on long-distance migratory species covers two complementary approaches:
- the deployment of new tracking devices to understand the ecology, movements and non-breeding locations of individuals from breeding populations, many of which are declining
- analyses of long-term monitoring data, including from bespoke surveys, the Ringing and Nest Record Schemes, to identify drivers of population change
BirdTrack migration blog (22–28 September)
The speed of migration has picked up as the end of September draws near, with a mix of extremely rare species and more common migrants being seen in recent days. There are still a few weeks until...
BirdTrack migration blog (15–21 September)
Now we are moving into mid September, BirdTrack reporting rates have increased for many passage migrants and winter visitors. This is especially true for several duck and wader species, which come to...
BirdTrack migration blog (8–14 September)
As the high pressure that began the previous week continued to build and remain in charge, the weather stayed fine, dry, and hot for most parts of Britain and Ireland. These settled conditions...
BirdTrack migration blog (25–31 August)
The previous week undoubtedly showed that autumn migration is well underway, and that you don’t necessarily need to travel to a prime migration site to experience it.
BirdTrack migration blog (18–24 August)
With relatively settled conditions for many parts of the country last week, the focus for many birdwatchers remained on the sea off the south-west coast.
Lasso Penalisation identifies consistent trends over time in landscape and climate factors influencing the wintering distribution of the Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
BirdTrack migration blog (11–17 August)
The pace of migration in late summer is greatly reduced compared to the spring, but that doesn’t mean birds aren’t on the move. Late summer has a habit of producing some very rare species, and...
Flight Paths: the story of bird migration science
Science writer Rebecca Heisman tells us how she came to write her first book, Flight Paths, and why it’s vital that we tell the stories of the birds around us.
Can Cuckoos adapt their clocks to climate change?
Cuckoos aren’t returning to the UK earlier, even as spring advances – but why? BTO research reveals new insights into the timing of this species’ migratory cycle.
West African stopover determines timing of Cuckoo arrival
The authors use 11 years of satellite tracking data from 87 male Cuckoos, tagged at 11 sites across the UK, to examine variation in migratory timing throughout the annual cycle and its potential...
2023’s Cuckoos are tagged and ready to go
BTO has fitted 10 more Cuckoos with satellite tags, allowing scientists and the general public to follow these incredible birds on their annual migration.
BirdTrack migration blog (late May–mid June)
As spring progresses towards summer, migration continues to slow. Most breeding species will be either in the full throws of breeding or close to their breeding grounds.
BirdTrack migration blog (19–25 May)
A week of relatively settled conditions enabled a steady stream of late migrants to arrive, and allowed an occasional scarce species to make landfall.
BirdTrack migration blog (14–20 April)
The mixed bag of weather over the last week brought a few nice surprises and a steady trickle of migrants.
BirdTrack migration blog (28 April–4 May)
As expected, the mixed bag of weather over the last week resulted in a trickle rather than a flow of birds arriving.
BirdTrack migration blog (21–27 April)
A week of sunshine, rain and blustery easterly winds kept the pace of migration relatively slow given the time of year.
BirdTrack migration blog (7–13 April)
During the last week, spring migration has stepped up a gear with species such as Nightingale, Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, and Cuckoo making their first appearance of 2023.
BirdTrack migration blog (31 March–6 April)
A change in wind direction over the past week coupled with some prolonged and often heavy bursts of rain slowed migration – but some birds still made it through.
BirdTrack migration blog (24–30 March)
Spring has certainly sprung in the last week, as summer migrants have taken advantage of warmer weather with a funnel of south-westerlies aiding their arrival.
BirdTrack migration blog (Mid-February — Mid-March)
With the songs of Great Tit, Song Thrush and Dunnock starting to fill the air, it feels like spring is just around the corner.
Can migrant birds wait until we have all the answers?
Research led by our CEO, Juliet Vickery, makes the case to act now to stem migrant bird population declines instead of waiting for more evidence.
BirdTrack migration blog (mid January–mid February)
With everything from arctic blasts to torrential rain, this winter has certainly been a testing time for birds visiting Britain and Ireland.
Proof of concept tool to predict avian influenza outbreaks
Data on the distribution, abundance and movements of wild birds are collected at a national scale within many European countries, thanks largely to the efforts of non-governmental organisations and...
A different approach could provide warning of avian influenza outbreaks
Although we lack complete understanding of the disease links between wild and captive bird populations, the pattern of HPAI emergence in captive poultry reflects the movements of migratory waterfowl...
The Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) as a model to understand the mechanisms of vagrancy and its potential significance for the evolution of new migratory routes
In addition to their regular movements, birds are also known for their propensity to move beyond their geographic range limits, a phenomenon known as vagrancy, and a behaviour that provides...
BirdTrack migration blog (mid-December - mid-January)
With plummeting temperatures across Britain and Ireland, there is little doubt that winter has arrived - and although the main migration periods are over for this year, the recent icy conditions have...
While most individuals disperse over short distances, long-distance dispersal is prevalent in almost all European bird species
In a study conducted in collaboration with BTO, scientists estimated the dispersal patterns of 234 European bird species using data from the EURING (European Union for Bird Ringing) Databank of birds...