Long-term monitoring in Scotland

Scottish BBS squares, 2011

Current coverage of BBS squares in Scotland

Our volunteer surveyors and volunteer Regional Representatives, who coordinate survey work locally, are the backbone of biodiversity monitoring in Scotland. They generously give of their time to a broad range of recording activities that produce scientifically robust information on: bird populations, distributions, trends and conservation alerts; demography (productivity and survival); phenology (timing of breeding and movements); and migration (movement routes and patterns) (for more information see Volunteer Surveys). Scotland’s generally low and clustered human population, remoteness and demanding terrain present considerable challenges when seeking representative bird monitoring by volunteers. BTO Scotland’s role includes finding ways to enhance coverage within the key surveys, through attracting, training and motivating volunteers, and thinking about novel survey methodologies to supplement current survey coverage (see also  Cook et al. PDF (PDF, 192.97 KB)).

Our current priorities in Scotland are:

  • To increase Breeding Bird Survey coverage of the uplands and remoter areas of the north and west Scotland, areas where it has traditionally been more difficult to attract volunteer surveyors (see map).
  • To increase Waterways Breeding Bird Survey coverage and complementary approaches to fill current gaps in our knowledge of river birds in Scotland.
  • To support the Wetland Bird Survey and enhance its coverage of smaller waterbodies in Scotland.
  • To encourage the use of the BirdTrack recording system in Scotland to maximise its value for measuring changes in the timing of bird movements and collecting spatially explicit information for conservation management purposes. We work with the SOC to encourage the Scottish bird recording community to use BirdTrack (e.g. through the Integrated Bird Recording in Scotland initiative).
  • To encourage participation in Garden BirdWatch in Scotland, to enhance coverage of garden biodiversity recording and as an entry-level scheme for volunteers to gain skills and confidence ready to participate in other long-term monitoring activities.
  • To encourage participation in all other surveys and monitoring relevant to Scottish birds (see Volunteer Surveys), as resources allow and where particular Scottish needs are identified.

Staff  Contacts: Chris Wernham & ben.darvill [at] bto.org (Ben Darvill).