Past Appeals

We run regular fundraising appeals to support our research and engagement priorities, and thanks to thousands of generous donors, our work has had a huge impact for birds and for people.

Our appeal-funded research is often published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and contributes to conservation across the UK. Browse the list below to find out more about each past appeal.

Puffin. Sarah Kelman

Climate Change Appeal

Globally, up to 7% of birds are considered to be at risk of extinction due to climate change. This appeal helped us to continue data collection through our long-term monitoring schemes and track the ongoing impacts of climate change.

autumn appeal landing page banner

Our future? It's in your hands

Our Youth Advisory Panel’s vision includes accessible, youth-led opportunities that inspire young people to engage with nature and science. This appeal helped us to recruit our Youth Representatives, set up our Equipment Donation Scheme and grow our Bird Camp events. 

Chaffinch. Tom Streeter

Chaffinch Appeal

In just eleven years from 2007–2018, the UK Chaffinch population fell by a staggering 30%. This appeal helped us make the best use of BTO’s data resources and investigate the causes of the decline, enabling us to inform conservation solutions.

Spotted Flycatcher. Photograph by David Jefferson

Spotted Flycatcher Appeal

This appeal helped us pinpoint why Spotted Flycatchers are dying, and address the alarming declines that we have charted over the last 50 years.

Short-eared Owl. Photograph of Andy Howe

Short-eared Owl Tracking Appeal

This elusive species has historically been very poorly understood. This appeal funded the equipment, travel and staff time for analyses and reporting needed to undertake a tracking study of Short-eared Owls so we could better understand their ecology and life history strategy.

Great Crested Grebe. Photograph by Austin Thomas

Secure our Future Appeal

This appeal supported an independent and expert review of BTO’s science, which strengthened our reputation and supported further funding applications and partnership proposals, and helped us to develop a new manifesto for action – BTO’s Agenda for Change, which was launched at a reception at the House of Lords in 2020.

Arctic Skua. Photograph by Moss Taylor

Tracking Arctic Skuas

Arctic Skuas are the fastest declining seabird in the UK, with losses of up to 80% in the breeding population since 1986. This appeal allowed us to investigate factors on skua migration routes and in their wintering areas that could be contributing to these declines.

Tawny Owl

BTO Owl Appeal

We urgently need your help to understand more about the ecology and population status of owls in the UK.

Cuckoo and Nightingale Appeal

Cuckoo and Nightingale Appeal

Donate now to fund vital research to ensure Cuckoo and Nightingale don’t become sounds of the past.

Turtle Dove. Photograph by Tom Streeter

Make our Science Count

Make a donation to help ensure that our voice is at the heart of post-Brexit decision-making on birds and their habitats.

Swift. Photograph by Dennis Atherton

BirdTrack Research Appeal

Help fund a research team who will harness BirdTrack data to understand declines in key summer migrant species.

BTO Curlew Appeal

Curlews have declined by 49% across the UK between 1995 and 2021. This appeal helped us to improve our understanding of the factors affecting Curlew breeding success and survival, and consequently the species’ population and distributional change.

BTO in Wales: A new vision

Since opening a BTO office in Scotland, ten years ago, we have seen how much more closely staff can work with birdwatchers and with conservation and decision-makers, simply because there is a BTO office within the country. We now plan to provide the same impetus in Wales.

Changing Times

We want to understand why many population changes are taking place and BTO long-term datasets are the key to unlocking some of these mysteries. We have a mass of evidence from our wide range of surveys – Breeding Bird Survey, Bird Atlas 2007-11, Nest Record Scheme, Ringing, Garden BirdWatch and BirdTrack – which show how bird populations are changing - but what we need to find out now is - why?

Garden BirdWatch Appeal

Thanks to our community of BTO Garden BirdWatchers we already know a lot about the birds and other wildlife using gardens but, with the importance of gardens only just now being recognised, there are some key questions that remain unanswered. With your help we can tackle them.

The Nightingale Appeal

The decline shown by the Nightingale is so great that the species would qualify for the Red List as a Species of Conservation Concern. We now plan to fund further research to investigate why these declines continue – whilst there are still sufficient birds to study.

Autumn Appeal 2012

With your help, we managed to fund the work needed to complete the Nightingale and Chats surveys, support Nightingale and Cuckoo tracking, develop BirdTrack to increase the number of people using it and begin a project looking at the timing of moult using ringing data.

Farmland Bird Appeal

BTO supporters identified farmland birds as their top topic of concern. This appeal raised funds to support our ongoing programme of work on issues related to farmland birds, including the effects of agri-environment scheme management.

Nightingale Tracking Survey 2012-13

The Nightingale population declined by a staggering 53% between 1995 - 2008 (Breeding Bird Survey Data) and the Bird Atlas 2007-11 indicates that their range is continuing to contract towards the extreme south-east of England, despite massive, local conservation efforts in traditional coppice and

The Wales Chat Survey

The chat survey has been started in Wales to bring a special focus on the relationship between the birds and the habitats and landscapes that sustain them, and will be followed by full survey of the UK.

Out of Africa

Our summer migrant birds face incredible challenges in their daily lives but none more so than their annual journeys to and from Africa, to escape the British winter and reach warmer climates, returning again in spring. However, numbers of our summer migrants, such as the Cuckoo and Swift, are declining and we need to understand why.

Little Ringed Plover and Ringed Plover Breeding Survey

This appeal funded a UK-wide survey of breeding Little Ringed and Ringed Plovers, the first national survey for these species since 1984. The data from this survey has been analysed and published in the research journal Bird Study.

Nightingale Survey

The Nightingale population declined by a staggering 53% between 1995 - 2008 (Breeding Bird Survey Data) and the emerging picture from Bird Atlas 2007-11 indicates that their range is continuing to contract towards the extreme south-east of England, despite massive, local conservation efforts in

Nightingale Tracking

In spring 2009, jointly with the Swiss Ornithological Institute, ‘geolocators’ were attached to 20 Nightingales in the UK; these tiny devices, weighing just 1g, contain a clock and light sensor which make it possible to determine where in the world they are at any given time. In June 2010 one of these birds was recaught, allowing our scientists to download the data collected over the winter months.

Bird Atlas 2007-11

This appeal helped us conduct one of our most ambitious projects to date, the Bird Atlas 2007-11. This stock-take of our birds is already revealing fascinating changes in the status of our birds and will shape the direction of conservation action over the coming decades.

Hawfinch Ecology Study

Using radio-tags supplied by Biotrack, two Hawfinches in Perthshire became the first to be successfully radio-tagged in 2007. Hawfinch is now listed as a priority under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan but their ecology is poorly known and this project has helped us to develop the study of some aspects of their ecology.

Nightingale Habitat Study

Although easy to hear, Nightingales are very difficult to observe. Radiotracking, equipment supplied by Biotrack, has enabled the collection of useful information on their behaviour, requirements and responses to changing habitat quality.

Nightjar Tracking

During summer 2011, 20 Nightjars were tagged in Thetford Forest in order to discover the poorly known migration routes and wintering areas of our breeding population; supported by Biotrack. Following advances in GPS tracking technology, 30 high resolution loggers have been deployed since 2015, which have yielded an extremely detailed wealth of migration data for the nine individuals recaught to date.

Wintering Thrushes

During the winters’ of 2012/13 and 2013/14, thousands of volunteer birdwatchers took part in the BTO’s Wintering Thrushes Survey. Individual donations and BTO Corporate Members supported their efforts looking at how thrushes use the countryside throughout the winter; providing the evidence needed to assess the importance of the UK for the five wintering thrush species.

Garden Nesting Survey 2010

The 2010 Garden Nesting Survey asked people to check their gardens for nesting activity by birds, and the responses have revealed a fascinating picture of the birds that use our gardens for nesting. The participation of thousands of BTO volunteers was supported by Gardenature and the John Spedan Lewis Foundation.

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