English Farm Woodland Bird Survey

Since 1988, over 22,000 farm woods have been planted in England.  The woods are mostly small, between 1 and 5 hectares in size, which will make survey coverage quite quick and straightforward.  These farm woods were planted in a wide variety of settings, ranging from complete isolation through to alongside existing established woodland. This provides a very interesting natural experiment to assess how well birds have colonised these new woodlands on farmland.

A new survey for 2019 plans to provide data on how birds have colonised woods planted in farmland.

What is required?

This survey will cover many of the 69 farm woodland sites previously surveyed in 1999, as well as up to 2000 other farm woods, which haven’t been surveyed at all.

The sites are small, so it should be possible to cover a number of woodland plots in a morning; each plot should take around 20 to 30 minutes to survey, depending on size!

Four morning visits are required between 15th March 2019 and 15th July 2019, to record all in and around the farm wood plot.  Registrations will be recorded on site maps, using Common Bird Census species and activity codes, mainly to accurately plot all individuals and help avoid double counting.  A summary of the number of territories detected will then be determined from each survey visits.

Some basic, but essential, habitat recording will be required for farm wood, to record the features such as tree species, boundary type and mammal activity.

How to sign-up for the survey

From mid-January it will be possible to register for the survey. Yuo will be able to view an interactive map of farm woodland locations, summarises by 1-km squares, from which you can select the sites you would like to survey.

Some squares may only have single farm woods, whereas others will have many, so we would encourage you to pick squares with multiple farm woods if possible.

Once a location has been selected, we will then need to contact the landowner to request permission to survey the site, which isn’t guaranteed, and then provide contact and visit details to the surveyor.

Further information

More detailed survey information, including instructions and recording is in preparation and will be available in early 2019.

You can contact the survey organisers Daria Dadam and Greg Conway via farmwoodbirds [at] bto.org.