Take part in a project

BBS volunteer. David Tipling
Make your birding count - volunteer and support BTO surveys, schemes and projects

From expert ringers and ecologists, to patch birders, garden enthusiasts and Cuckoo sponsors - we have a range of projects to suit your skills and time available.

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View all current projects or view the list of completed projects.

Arctic Tern Photographer Jeremy Moore

BirdTrack

BirdTrack is a free and convenient way of storing your bird records online. BirdTrack lets you keep up to date with what others are seeing, view the latest trends, and contribute your data to BTO science.

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • There is no minimum time commitment.
  • Ideally you will have fairly good bird identification skills.
Robin. John Harding

Garden BirdWatch

Help with research into garden wildlife by joining our Garden BirdWatch community

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Time / skill needed:
  • As much as you like, but a minimum of 20 minutes per week recommended.
  • Can identify common garden birds by sight.
Cuckoo. Alan McFadyen

Cuckoo Tracking Project

Help us follow Cuckoos on migration and discover why they are in decline.

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • Follow our Cuckoos on the map below - use the controls to animate or step through their movements.
WeBS counting. Photograph by Teresa Frost

Wetland Bird Survey

The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK.

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Time / skill needed:
  • One visit per month, preferably on the Sunday Core Count priority date.
  • Identify waterbirds that regularly occur at your allocated WeBS site.
Greenfinch in the hand having its wing measured, by Dawn Balmer

Bird Ringing Scheme

Bird ringing generates information on the survival, productivity and movements of birds, helping us to understand why populations are changing.

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • It usually takes a year or more, ringing regularly with qualified ringers, to obtain a ringing permit.
  • Basic bird identification skills and reasonable dexterity are required.
Chiffchaff by Paul Newton

Breeding Bird Survey

BBS monitors the population changes of 117 breeding bird species across the UK thanks to the dedication of almost 3,000 volunteers who survey their randomly selected 1-km square each spring.

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Time / skill needed:
  • Undertake three site visits between April and June - a recce and two morning visits, along with data entry.
  • Able to identify UK breeding birds by sight, song and call.
Grey Heron. Photograph by John Harding

Heronries Census

Annual survey of all Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Cormorants and scarcer herons nesting in the UK

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Time / skill needed:
  • Each visit requires 10 minutes to 1 hour excluding travelling time.
  • Suitable for beginners - identify herons/cormorants and count occupied nests.
Dipper by Edmund Fellowes

Waterways Breeding Bird Survey

The Waterways Breeding Bird Survey is an annual survey of breeding birds along rivers and canals.

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Time / skill needed:
  • Undertake three site visits between April and June - a recce and two morning visits, along with data entry.
  • Able to identify UK breeding birds by sight, song and call.
Long-tailed Tit nest. Photograph by Elspeth Rowe

Nest Record Scheme

The Nest Record Scheme gathers vital information on the breeding success of Britain's birds by asking volunteers to find and follow the progress of individual birds' nests.

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Time / skill needed:
  • A few minutes on a nest in a garden to a full time project in the field.
  • Count eggs and chicks in nests by following the Code of Conduct.
Nuthatch. Photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Nesting Neighbours

Do you think you might have birds nesting in your garden? Could you take a closer look and find out? By monitoring nests through the breeding season you could gather hugely valuable information.

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • A few minutes each week to monitor the nests in your garden.
  • Able to access nests to count eggs and young, following the Code of Conduct.
Woodcock - Graham Giddens

Woodcock Survey

Help monitor Woodcock in Britain and Ireland by claiming a square.

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Time / skill needed:
  • Four visits at dusk between April and end of June each year.
  • Confident identifying Woodcock.
Greenfinch. Photograph by Jill Pakenham

Garden Wildlife Health

Tell us about sick and diseased wildlife found in your garden. Garden BirdWatch participants can also add observations when entering their usual GBW counts.

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • No minimum requirement - although GBW participants spend 20 minutes a week observing their garden birds.
  • Able to identify and document unusual behaviour and physical symptoms in garden birds.
Bullfinch by John Harding

Garden Bird Feeding Survey

Existing Garden BirdWatchers can help reveal how the food we provide affects the birds visiting our gardens

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • Small amount of time required in addition to usual weekly Garden BirdWatch count.
  • Must be a preexisting Garden BirdWatch member, selected to participate. Confident garden bird identification skills.
Common Pipistrelle - Amy Lewis

Norfolk Bat Survey

Norfolk Bat Survey offers anyone in Norfolk the opportunity to borrow automated equipment to record bats in the local area.

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Time / skill needed:
  • Putting out a detector in the evening and collecting it in the morning.
  • Anyone can take part.
River Pripyat. Daniel Rosengren

Polesia: Wilderness without borders

BTO is participating in species research and monitoring that is underpinning a landscape restoration project in Belarus and Ukraine, aimed at protecting and restoring the wetland wilderness of Polesia.

Learn more

Lapwing. Photograph by Howard Stockdale

Northern Ireland Lowland Breeding Wader Survey

Investigating whether Northern Irish lowland grasslands are supporting breeding waders.

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Time / skill needed:
  • It is expected that each survey visit may take up to 3 hours, depending on the size of the site.
  • Ability to identify four species of wader (Curlew, Lapwing, Redshank and Snipe) and identify breeding behaviours (displaying or territory defence).
Our future - in your hands

Our future - in your hands

We are developing our youth engagement programme to find and nurture our surveyors of the future. With your help we can provide resources to educate, engage and empower.

Find out more