Training for ecological and environmental professionals

An overview of the content and forthcoming dates for these training courses is provided below:

About our courses for professionals

Our courses for professionals are carefully tailored to the needs of people working or seeking work in the ecological/environmental sector. They typically involve a mix of classroom-based and practical field sessions, either in-person or hybrid in-person/online, and always with a strong emphasis on applying the skills learned in a professional context.

In contrast, our training courses for the general public focus on bird identification skills and how to use these in BTO volunteer surveys, and are usually delivered online.

Bird Survey Techniques

BTO has been developing bird survey techniques and training people to use them for over 90 years, and we are recognised as experts in bird survey methodology and data analysis.

This 2-day in-person course draws on that experience to introduce two key survey techniques that are frequently used in the Environmental/Ecological Impact Assessment process, and explore how to apply them in a range of scenarios.

Course content

  • Overview of BTO surveys
  • Scoping and data sources
  • Distance sampling methodology and analysis – point counts and transects
  • Territory mapping methodology and analysis
  • Survey selection, design and set-up
  • Application of ornithological methods to the EIA process

This course does not cover bird identification. Participants should be able to identify the majority of common resident UK woodland birds by sight and, ideally, by sound.

Forthcoming dates

How to book

To express interest, please contact the Training team.

Assessing Risk of Groundworks to Breeding Birds

Assessing Risk of Groundworks on Breeding Birds course participants

Groundworks that must take place during spring/summer pose a risk to breeding birds. BTO has unparalleled expertise in monitoring breeding birds through the Nest Record Scheme – a project involving more than 750 dedicated volunteers – and several other breeding season surveys.

Drawing on that wealth of experience, this 1-day course (two online sessions and a half-day field session, usually delivered over a week) provides detailed guidance on recognising bird breeding behaviour and reducing the risk of particular activities on breeding birds. We also explore the legislation around birds and its implications for work taking place during the breeding season.

Course content

  • Overview of bird identification by sight and sound
  • Bird breeding biology
  • Recognising evidence of breeding
  • Data and recording
  • Legislation and other considerations: Wildlife and Countryside Act, protected sites and conservation status
  • Protocols in case of active nest discovery

Forthcoming dates

Registration for the online sessions is a prerequisite for joining the field session but if you can only attend the online sessions, these can be booked without having to register for the field session.

The course can also be delivered on demand, subject to tutor availability.


  • Full course: £245 + VAT (£294 incl. VAT)
  • Online sessions only: £160 + VAT (£192 incl. VAT)

We offer the following discounts:

  • 10% off for two people from the same organisation
  • 15% off for three or more people from the same organisation

How to book

To express interest, please contact the Training team.

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