Breeding waders on BBS sites

There is an urgent need to improve our understanding of wader declines so that we can better conserve these threatened species.

Lapwing chick by Liz Cutting
Thank you so much for your wonderful response to our calls to complete additional ‘Breeding Wader’ visits to your BBS sites. Mid-July was the latest period to complete the visits, so the fieldwork for this project is now closed for 2021. Please ensure you submit your data from any Breeding Wader (BW) visits by the 31st August 2021; data submitted past that date may not be included in the trials. You can download the

'Breeding Wader' visit trials

This year we asked volunteers who recorded waders on their BBS sites to consider completing additional visit(s) between mid-June to mid-July, after their second ('Late') BBS visit, to collect valuable information on the breeding success of the waders they observed. These additional Breeding Wader (BW) visits followed the same basic methodology as standard BBS visits, with some important differences. Only wader species were recorded on the BW visit, and some extra information on wader behaviour and presence of young was recorded.

How will these data be used?

Data from these BW visits will help to develop methods to assess wader breeding success without the need for intensive monitoring. Recent wader population declines in the UK are largely being driven by low breeding productivity. However, because waders are relatively long-lived birds, low breeding success can take a long time to translate into decreases in numbers of breeding pairs. This means that abundance information collected using standard wader survey methods, or derived from BBS data, is not well suited to delivering information on productivity.

The BW survey method we are asking you to help trial is intended to fill this information gap, revealing how productivity varies in space and time, and between different habitats and types of management. Methods like this should put us in a much better position to assess whether local wader populations are sustainable, and what we can do to help them.

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