Bird Atlas 2007-11

Scottish mountain scenes. Andy Wilson

Bird Atlas 2007–11 was one of the most ambitious volunteer projects ever undertaken, mapping birds in both winter and the breeding season from every inch of Britain and Ireland.

Bird Atlas was a partnership between BTO, BirdWatch Ireland and the Scottish Ornithologists' Club.

The fieldwork is now complete and we are keen to make the most of the data collected. The BTO aims to go 'Beyond the Maps' to investigate the changes highlighted by Bird Atlas.

Discover how the data are being used now for direct conservation work in the UK, and read about BirdWatch Ireland's work.

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Project timeline, contributions & findings

Project timeline

  • November 2007 - 40,000 volunteers begin atlas surveying
  • September 2011 - Survey work completed
  • November 2013 - Printed atlases arrive

Contributions & findings

  • Over the last 40 years the British breeding ranges of 37% of species have contracted, whereas 38% have expanded to new areas. In Ireland, 47% have contracted and 18% expanded
  • 13 species, including Cuckoo, Swallow and Bullfinch, have increased in Ireland and northen Britain but decreased in lowland Britain
We need to analyse the huge amounts of data we collected for the Bird Atlas so we can make robust evidence-based recommendations to help bird species which appear to be declining in numbers, like the Bullfinch, Short-eared Owl and Redshank. Dr Simon Gillings, BTO Senior Research Ecologist 

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