Publication Year
Featured Publication
State of Nature Report
Red Kite. Jill Pakenham

State of Nature report 2019

The current state of nature

2019 |

An overview of how the country’s wildlife is faring, looking back over nearly 50 years of monitoring to see how nature has changed.

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Latest Publications

Peer-reviewed papers
What's Under Your Feet

Using data from schools to model variation in soil invertebrates across the UK: The importance of weather, climate, season and habitat

What's Under Your Feet?

2018 | Martay, B. & Pearce-Higgins, J.W. Pedobiologia

A new study, supported by EDF Energy and BTO, has looked into soil invertebrate communities in the UK using large-scale citizen science data from schools. 

Peer-reviewed papers

Ecology and Conservation of Forest Birds


Ecology and Conservation of Forest Birds is a unique review of current understanding of the relationships between forest birds and their changing environments.

Research Reports

Assessing habitat use of Herring Gulls in the Morecambe Bay SPA using GPS tracking devices

2018 | Chris B Thaxter, Gary Clewley, Lee Barber, Greg J Conway, Nigel A Clark, Emily S Scragg, Niall H K Burton

Number of coastal Herring Gull populations have reduced markedly in recent years.

Research Reports

Assessing the habitat use of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus) from the Bowland Fells SPA - ANNEX 1 - 2017 update

2018 | Gary D Clewley, Emily E Scragg, Chris B Thaxter, Niall H K Burton

This annex to BTO Research Report 694 (Clewley et al.

Research Reports

Improving understanding of the possible relationship between improving freshwater and coastal water quality and bird interest on designated sites - phase 1 review

2018 | Henrietta E K Pringle, Niall H K Burton

Over the past 50 years there has been widespread improvement in water quality in many freshwater and coastal systems driven by domestic and European legislation, most recently the EU Water Framewor

Peer-reviewed papers
Nightingale - John Spaull

Estimating national population sizes: Methodological challenges and applications illustrated in the common nightingale, a declining songbird in the UK

Counting songs: estimating the UK’s Nightingale population

2018 | Hewson, C.M., Miller, M., Johnston, A., Conway, G.J., Saunders, R., Marchant, J.H. & Fuller, R.J. Journal of Applied Ecology

A new study led by BTO estimates the UK Nightingale population at 5095 – 5983 territorial males. The study also highlights the importance of Lodge Hill SSSI as important sites and discusses the use of appropriate methodology when estimating populations for scarcer species.

Peer-reviewed papers
Lesser Black-backed Gull - Edmund Fellowes

Dodging the blades: new insights into three-dimensional space use of offshore wind farms by lesser black-backed gulls Larus fuscus

Dodging the blades: gulls and wind farms

2018 | Thaxter, C.B., Ross-Smith, V.H., Bouten, W., Masden, E.A., Clark, N.A., Conway, G.J., Barber, L., Clewley, G.D. & Burton, N.H.K. Marine Ecology Progress Series

Initial findings suggest that Lesser Black-backed Gulls in north-west England fly within wind farms, but may avoid wind turbines once there.

Peer-reviewed papers
Whinchat - Edmund Fellowes

Nest monitoring does not affect nesting success of Whinchats Saxicola rubetra

Monitoring has no effect on Whinchat nests

2017 | Border, J.A., Atkinson, L.R., Henderson, I.G., Hartley, I.R. IBIS

Monitoring nests has no effect on daily survival rates of young, finds a new paper funded by BTO and NERC. 

The State of the UK's Birds

The State of the UK's Birds 2017

2017 | Hayhow D.B., Ausden M.A., Bradbury R.B., Burnell D., Copeland A.I., Crick H.Q.P., Eaton M.A., Frost T., Grice P.V., Hall C., Harris S.J., Morecroft M.D., Noble D.G., Pearce-Higgins J.W., Watts O., Williams J.M.

Peer-reviewed papers

Can bird abundance declines be detected by citizen science programmes? A case study using Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus

2017 | Sparks, T.H., Atkinson, S., Lewthwaite, K., Dhap, R., Moran, N.J. & Tryjanowski, P. Avian Biology Research

Peer-reviewed papers

What does 'traditional' management really mean?

2017 | Dolman, P., Williamson, T., Fuller, R. & Barnes, G. British Wildlife

Management for conservation often attempts to replicate the practices that were prevalent in historical times.

Research Reports

Monitoring Breeding Waders in Wensleydale: trialling surveys carried out by farmers and gamekeepers

2017 | David Jarrett, John Calladine, Chris Wernham & Mark Wilson

Peer-reviewed papers
Willow Warbler

The sensitivity of breeding songbirds to change in seasonal timing is linked to population change but cannot be directly attributed to the effects of trophic asynchrony on productivity. 

Does the early bird catch the caterpillar?

2017 | Franks, S.E., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Atkinson, S., Bell, J.R., Botham, M.S., Brereton, T.M., Harrington, R. & Leech, D.I. Global Change Biology

Recently published research led by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) sheds new light on the impact that climate change has had on common and widespread songbirds across the UK.

Research Notes

How should static detectors be deployed to produce robust national population trends for British bat species?

2017 | Stuart Newson

These detectors can be left outside to automatically trigger and record bats.

Research Notes

Modelled abundance and change in abundance of Red Deer and Roe Deer in Scotland from Breeding Bird Survey data

2017 | Dario Massimino & John Calladine

This short note describes the derivation of maps of abundance and change in abundance for the two species, from the late 1990s to the present day.

Peer-reviewed papers
Common Pipistrelle by Amy Lewis

Large-scale citizen science improves assessment of risk posed by wind farms to bats in southern Scotland

Scanning for Scottish bats

2017 | Newson, S. E., Evans, H. E., Gillings, S., Jarret, D., Raynor, R., Wilson, M. W. Biological Conservation

With the need to better understand the distribution of rare and vulnerable bats to help minimise risk posed by wind farms, this study used the power of citizen science to rewrite the bat distribution maps in southern Scotland.

Peer-reviewed papers
Red Grouse - Sarah Kelman

Projected reductions in climatic suitability for vulnerable British Birds

Climate change will change bird communities

2017 | Massimino, D., Johnston, A., Gillings, S., Jiguet, F. & Pearce-Higgins, J.W. Climatic Change

With climate change a continuing pressure on birds, this new study discovered the effects it may have on existing and future populations.

Peer-reviewed papers

Addressing Uncertainty in Marine Resource Management; Combining Community Engagement and Tracking Technology to Characterize Human Behavior

2017 | Metcalfe, K., Collins, T., Abernethy, K. E., Boumba, R., Dengui, J.-C., Miyalou, R., Parnell, R. J., Plummer, K. E., Russell, D. J.F., Safou, G. K., Tilley, D., Turner, R. A., VanLeeuwe, H., Witt, M. J. & Godley, B. J. Conservation Letters

Small-scale fisheries provide an essential source of food and employment for coastal communities, yet the availability of detailed information on the spatiotemporal distribution of fishing effort to s

Peer-reviewed papers

Implicit assumptions underlying simple harvest models of marine bird populations can mislead environmental management decisions

2017 | O'Brien, S.H., Cook, A.S.C.P. & Robinson, R.A. Journal of Environmental Management

Potential Biological Removal (PBR) is a simple harvest model. PBR is used for assessing impacts of offshore wind farms on seabird populations. Implicit assumptions about density dependence within PBR were tested. We demonstrated that PBR gives misleading results when assumptions are not met. We recommend use of models that allow assumptions to be explicitly defined.



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