Breeding Bird Survey
BTO published a new statement on COVID-19 on 8 January 2021.
There is currently no fieldwork being carried out for the Breeding Birds Survey. We will update this statement in spring 2021 in preparation for the next fieldwork season.
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.
The BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the main scheme for monitoring the population changes of the UK’s common and widespread breeding birds, producing population trends for 117 bird and nine mammal species.
The survey involves a recce visit and two early-morning spring visits to an allocated 1-km square, to count all the birds you see or hear while walking two 1-km lines across the square and record any nest counts for colonial nesting birds in the square. You can optionally record mammals and visit your square later in the season to survey for butterflies. There is the option to return data on paper, via field recording forms or to submit your data on BBS-Online.
Time / skill required
- February – March Forms sent or downloaded
- March Reconnaissance visit
- Early April – mid May Early visit
- Mid May – late June Late visit
- May – August Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey
- End of August Data entry deadline
Contributions & findings
Count butterflies on your BBS square
Take part in the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey by making additional visits to your BBS square.
Read the latest BBS report
The Breeding Bird Survey started in 1994, and a report is produced every year containing population changes and other results from the scheme.Read the BBS report now
Breeding Bird Survey report shows mixed results
The 2019 BBS report is now available. Read about the changing fortunes of breeding birds in the UK.
Butterflies bounce back
The summer of 2019 provided another welcome boost to butterfly populations, according to the latest results from the annual UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS).