Latest Research

Chaffinch by Jill Pakenham

Garden BirdWatchers allow us to better understand disease in British finches

Weekly reports from BTO Garden BirdWatchers, as well as ad hoc sightings of disease from members of the public to Garden Wildlife Health, have aided our understanding of leg lesions (more commonly referred to as ‘scaly leg’ or ‘tassel foot’) in British finches.

Curlew by Neil Calbrade

Wading birds are benefiting from conservation action but we need more of it

Whether it is the swooping display and ‘pee-wit’ calls of a breeding Lapwing or the haunting cry of a Curlew over a tall hay meadow, breeding waders deliver some of the most iconic sights and sounds of the British countryside in spring. But, along with many of the other species breeding in agricultural habitats, all is not well with these charismatic birds, as BTO Research Ecologist Sam Franks reveals.

Brown Hares, by John Harding

How birdwatchers can tell us about declining mammals

The UK’s mammals present particular challenges for monitoring; they live in a wide variety of habitats, vary enormously in size and can be very difficult to see, but as this paper shows, Britain’s army of volunteer bird surveyors could come to the rescue.

Crested Tit - Sarah Kelman

Can volunteers’ data be used to monitor land cover change?

A new study shows that Breeding Bird Survey data can help with habitat monitoring. 
Cuckoo - Edmund Fellowes

Cuckoos: England’s loss is Scotland’s gain

The Cuckoo is quickly declining from the English countryside, but this new study using BTO data shows that despite its decline in the south of the UK, it is increasing in the Scottish Highlands, the population is increasing.