EWBS survey methods

The survey will use Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) squares and a very similar method, using the same transect routes and count sections, as per summer.  However, Brown Hare will be counted alongside the birds and all will be recorded in BBS distance bands

Each square requires two 1km transects to be walked up to four times during the winter period.  The surveys are to be conducted between one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. Each visit should take between two and four hours to complete at a slow, methodical pace.

Timing of visits

November - recce visit to establish the best access routes and contact landowners where access permission may be required.  Most importantly, for new sites, it will essential  to plan transect routes prior to the first survey visit.

  • Visit 1 – December 2018
  • Visit 2 – January 2019
  • Visit 3 – February 2019
  • Visit 4 – March 2019

What to Record

Record all birds and Brown Hare seen or heard either side of your transect using BTO two-letter species codes. All other live mammals observed along your route are to be recorded separately on a different form.  Birds and Brown Hares are to be recorded in three distinct distance bands parallel to each transect.  We are specifically interested in English lowland farm habitats that may provide feeding resources for birds.  For each visit, record the farmland habitat features along both transects using the form and list provided.  A farmland habitat guide is provided to aid identification of crops and land use.

All bird, mammal and habitat data should be entered via BBS-online by the 31st May 2019.

Access permissions

All observers need to obtain permission to cross any private land, and to follow the BTO's Health & Safety guidelines. Download an access permission letter from the survey resources page. If your square has not been surveyed before please refer to the guidance on establishing a new route, and submit a route map to the BTO.

Further information

All the instructions and forms needed to participate are available on the resources page. Please direct any questions to the survey organisers David Norfolk and Greg Conway (winterbirds [at] bto.org).