Sanderling, by Sarah Kelman / BTO

Our science

In the face of global biodiversity loss and climate change, the need to protect and restore species and ecosystems has never been so critical. 

Our science is focused, objective and impactful, driving positive change for birds and nature.

Monitoring schemes and surveys

BTO science covers two important aspects: monitoring and research. 

We coordinate over 60,000 dedicated volunteers to collect biological data through our surveys, many of which are run in partnership with other key conservation bodies like the RSPB and JNCC.

Decades of monitoring have allowed us to build robust, long-term datasets about the natural world, which underpin our research. 

Diverse scientific research  

Our scientists use the data collected through our surveys to track changes in bird populations, to understand the drivers of bird population declines and to identify the best solutions. We are constantly developing better methods to capture and analyse high-quality data.

We focus on a range of key areas, from migrant birds and breeding waders to urban planning and woodland expansion.

Robust and impactful evidence

Our role in the nature conservation sector is to provide scientific evidence which can be used by everyone – from individuals and businesses to environmental conservationists and the government – to support solution-orientated action for wildlife. Because we are a non-campaigning organisation, the evidence we produce is robust and objective.

Our data contribute directly towards reports and publications like the State of Nature Report, Birds of Conservation Concern, the government’s Wild Bird indicators and The State of the UK’s Birds

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Publications, reports and analysis

Our science is regularly published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. We contribute data to official government statistics and high-profile collaborative reports, and produce our own summaries and analyses of our long-term data sets.

We also produce books and guides as well as magazines for members and volunteers. 

Case studies

Our science addresses conservation and research challenges to deliver impactful results.

Data, products and services

Data from our schemes and surveys are available for use by conservation groups, government agencies, planners, ecologists, industrialists, environmental consultants and scientific researchers. 

Data Reports

Bespoke Data Reports to inform fieldwork decisions and desk studies for Ecological Impact Assessments of potential development sites.


State-of-the-art equipment and software, developed by our experts to enhance scientific research, support conservation efforts and inform planning decisions.


Our ecological consulting services for businesses provide robust scientific data, to enable informed and responsible decision-making.

Edinburgh, by Mike Newbry

Science across the UK

Our offices in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland provide local habitat and species expertise for our scientific research.