Latest Research

English Regional Indicator Results (1994 – 2009)

Newly updated indicators for breeding bird populations in nine regions of England (formerly Government Office Regions) were published on September 22, 2011. The latest results show that farmland birds continue to decline in the east, south-east and the south west of England but remain relatively stable in the north.

Curlew. Photograph by John Harding

Modelling changes in species’ abundance in response to projected climate change

There has been plenty of work on the effect that climate change might have on the range of particular bird species; for example, Dartford Warbler is predicted to extend its range north with an increase in temperature. However, for the first time, scientists at BTO have looked at what effect climate change might have on the distribution and abundance of particular species. Four were chosen; two with a southerly distribution, Nuthatch and Green Woodpecker, and two with a more northerly distribution, Meadow Pipit and Curlew.

Gannets. Photograph by Jill Pakenham

Making sense of monitoring

Research by the BTO and the JNCC shows that the regions used by policy makers in monitoring and protecting the UK’s internationally important seabird populations are not necessarily meaningful on an ecological level. Consequently, the effects of man’s marine activities, such as fishing, dredging and shipping, on seabirds could be overlooked.

Muntjac. Photography by Dawn Balmer

The impact on woodland birds of changes to woodland habitat structure by deer

Birds in woodland can be affected by increasing deer populations through changes to the vegetation structure and the potential impacts on foraging resources; these effects need to be better understood. This work, carried out over three years by the BTO and the University of East Anglia, used experimental exclusion of deer to look at the effects of deer browsing in English coppiced woodland.

Corn Bunting. Photograph by John Harding

Rise of the Generalists

Research from the BTO, just published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, shows that the diversity of Britain’s birds has increased with a warming climate, but this was accompanied by a loss of habitat specialists.

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