Swift. Photograph by Dennis Atherton

BirdTrack Research Appeal

This appeal is now closed to donations, but you can still support our work:

How bridging the knowledge gap can help save our birds.

Many summer migrants like Cuckoo, Nightingale and Turtle Dove are on the UK Red List of Conservation Concern and we face the potential loss of some of our most iconic summer visitors from parts of the UK in the coming decade. 

The reasons for these declines remain unclear: there are so many questions to answer, so many gaps in our knowledge to fill.  Why are Swifts disappearing from our towns and cities?  Is the decline of the Cuckoo linked to the timing of their arrival in the UK?  What’s causing the drop in Willow Warbler numbers in southern Britain?

It’s crucial we act now to find out why changes like these are happening. As soon as we fill these knowledge gaps, the information can be used to develop solutions to conserve our dwindling bird populations.

The BirdTrack Research Project will enable our expert team of researchers to unlock the insights we need by analysing millions of BirdTrack records in new ways to answer some of the most pressing questions about our summer migrants and why they are disappearing. This vital research will deliver fresh insights into bird population and distribution trends, habitat use and migration patterns across a range of species throughout the UK and beyond.

We estimate the BirdTrack Research Project will take two years to complete at a cost of £200,000.

The donation you give will help cover the costs of an expert statistician, our team of research ecologists and the lead researcher who will direct and oversee this programme of cutting edge research.

Protecting our rarest species

BirdTrack has thousands of valuable records of increasingly rare species such as Ring Ouzel. By developing new tools that can identify population trends and crashes quickly, especially among rare birds, we can help raise the alarm when a species is in danger.

Identifying critical habitats year-round

By understanding which habitats are important for birds at critical times of the year, such as the period directly after breeding and before they migrate for the winter, will provide brand new insights into how species like Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Warbler use different habitats across the UK before their autumn departure and increase the chance of these habitats being protected in the future.

Understanding the bigger picture

A key part of our BirdTrack Research project will be to work with conservation partners in Europe and Africa to capture more data about birds throughout their transcontinental migration. We will link our BirdTrack results with other information to identify specific threats they face, such as hunting, and where and when they occur.

It’s vital we find out why so many of our summer migrants are declining. Only by closing this knowledge gap can we save them. With your support, our BirdTrack Research Project will help answer questions critical to their survival. Thank you.

How you can make a difference

This appeal is now closed to donations, but you can still support our work:

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