Recruitment to this scheme is currently suspended due to the latest Government Guidance regarding Covid-19. Please see 'BTO and Covid-19' for the latest BTO statement. Do you have what it takes to help collect priceless information about our upland birds? We are looking for intrepid volunteers to carry out single visit breeding bird surveys to remote upland locations between April and the end of June.
The Breeding Bird Survey monitors UK bird populations via annual visits to randomly selected 1-km squares. Squares in remote areas typically receive fewer visits than those in more populous or lower-lying areas. To improve coverage we are trialling the Upland Rovers scheme, through which volunteers can undertake one-off visits to a selection of the more remote BBS squares. This is a great reason to explore new areas while contributing important information.
The UK's vast uplands support important populations of breeding waders, raptors and songbirds. An improved understanding of population change among these species would be of great value with respect to conservation management, land use and climate change among other things.
How to sign-up for an upland visit
Please use the interactive map to view the squares available for Upland Rovers. Click on a square of interest and then on the grid reference at the top of the pop-up box to view a detailed Ordnance Survey map. When you have found a square you would like to survey, complete the short form to notify the relevant scheme organiser. The organiser will email you to arrange square allocation, discuss the details of your survey visit and guidance on submitting the data.
The squares available for Upland Rovers vary considerably in terms of terrain and remoteness. While we are keen to receive information from these remote areas, the health and safety of volunteers comes first. Please give careful consideration to the nature of the terrain, your physical fitness and experience of walking and navigating in such environments. You may find our health and safety guidance for volunteers useful.
The organiser will discuss possible or pre-existing routes with you, but you will need to be prepared to adjust your route in response to practical or safety considerations.
Standard BBS methodology requires two visits each year, over four weeks apart, however, we have taken the difficult decision to permit single one-off visits to remote upland squares on the basis that some information is better than none for these carefully selected squares. We aim to achieve representative coverage over time by encouraging visits from multiple roving observers. Of course, if you wish to revisit the square yourself you will be very welcome to.
Take part in BBS - counting for conservation
The Breeding Bird Survey is the main scheme for monitoring the population changes of the UK’s common and widespread breeding birds.
Citizen Science in Shetland
BTO volunteer Hugh Tooby shares his journey through Shetland as part of the Upland Rovers scheme.