Help needed to survey declining Willow Tits

Willow Tit by Graham Catley/BTO
07 Jan 2019

Willow Tit has undergone a large decline in Britain, disappearing from many areas, mainly in the south and southeast of England. This is highlighted by the Breeding Bird Survey results for 1995–2016, which show an 81% drop. The distribution stretches from Northumberland south through Yorkshire to south Wales, with isolated populations in southwest Scotland and Devon. Willow Tits are absent from Ireland.

The causes for this decline are not yet fully understood, but deterioration in habitat quality has been identified as a possible cause. To further investigate this possibility, the RSPB and Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP) are looking for volunteers to survey the species in 2019 and 2020. The survey will take place in early spring in both years and involve covering squares throughout the range of Willow Tit. Due to its similarity to the more widespread Marsh Tit, it is well worth becoming familiar with how to confidently separate the two species.