Latest Research

Novel methods for estimating abundance and flight heights of seabirds

Wind farms are more likely to negatively affect seabird populations when they overlap with high densities of birds at sea. Additionally, if species’ fly at a similar height to turbine blades they are at greater risk of collision. Recent BTO research has used novel methods to provide information on these aspects for offshore wind farm impact assessments.

Species’ ranges are shifting, but in which direction?

As the climate changes, new areas become potentially suitable for different bird species. Most studies focus on rising temperatures, finding that species can now exist further north. But patterns of rainfall are also changing in complex ways. So which directions should Britain’s birds shift to follow their favoured climate?

Tracking technology reveals Nightjar habitat requirements

Nightjar populations have increased in recent years, but some declines have been noted at sites supporting nationally important breeding populations. BTO research is using tracking technology to better understand the habitat requirements of this cryptic yet charismatic species, so that habitat can be optimally managed to conserve them.

Yellow Wagtail, photograph by Jill Pakenham

Might migrants introduce West Nile Virus?

Although not yet found in Britain, West Nile Virus (WNV), which can cause serious illness and even death in humans, has been reported as close as southern France. WNV can be carried by wild birds and Britain falls on major migration routes of birds travelling from countries where WNV is found. This study investigates the possibility that WNV could be introduced to Britain by migratory birds.

Is Willow Warbler breeding changing with the times?

New research by the BTO and the University of East Anglia uses information from the Nest Record Scheme to investigate changes in Willow Warbler breeding between the 1960s and the present day. Despite advances in the timing of egg laying, there has been little change in Willow Warbler productivity over this period.