Take part in a project

Volunteer, by Kat Booth Jones / BTO

Volunteer and support BTO surveys, schemes and projects

There’s something for everyone: from patch birders, garden enthusiasts and Cuckoo sponsors to expert ringers and ecologists. You can also volunteer as a Regional Representative.

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

Time / skill needed:
  • Spend as much time as you like following each Cuckoo's migration on the map below - use the controls to animate or step through their movements.
  • No technical skills are required to support this project - just a love of Cuckoos.
Nuthatch. Photograph by Edmund Fellowes
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.
Fieldfare. Liz Cutting

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.
Arctic Tern Photographer Jeremy Moore
Time / skill needed:
  • There is no minimum time commitment.
  • Ideally you will have fairly good bird identification skills.
WeBS counting. Photograph by Teresa Frost
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.
Black-headed Gull. Sarah Kelman / BTO
Time / skill needed:
  • At least one evening visit to a gull roost or potential roosting site in January, with the option to conduct an autumn count and additional visits to sample squares.
  • You must be able to identify gull species as they come to roost, potentially in low light levels.
Greenfinch in the hand having its wing measured, by Dawn Balmer
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
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
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

Nest Record Scheme participants gather vital information on the breeding success of Britain's birds by following the progress of individual 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.
Woodcock - Graham Giddens
Time / skill needed:
  • Four 75-minute visits at dusk between April and end of June each year.
  • Confident identifying Woodcock.

Wader Calendar

The Wader Calendar is a quick and easy way for farmers to record waders on their farm and contribute to a national monitoring scheme.

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Time / skill needed:
  • Keeping notes as you go should only take a few minutes each week, but dedicated counts at set times in the week may take longer. The survey runs March to July.
  • Recognise and identify the five target species: Curlew, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Snipe.
Mountain Hare. Andy Howard
Time / skill needed:
  • Flexible – either record during your existing upland walks, or sign up to cover higher priority 1 km squares. You can take part year-round at any time of day.
  • No pre-existing wildlife survey experience needed.
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.

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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.
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.