Peregrine survey

Peregrine. Photograph by Graham Catley

Take part in our Peregrine survey to record the number of breeding birds
and to estimate the number of occupied territories.

In 2014 we organised a Peregrine Survey to record the number of occupied territories in the UK, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. You can read the PROVISIONAL results here. Full results will be available next year.

We will compare our findings with surveys from 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2002 to determine change and to inform the future of this once almost extinct species. Click on the link to find out more about Peregrines.

Details of the 2014 survey are shown below. The survey is now complete.

Who can take part?

This survey is suited to experienced volunteers with good knowledge of their local area. We will be working closely with Raptor Study Groups and individual Peregrine specialists.  

Depending on the coverage and distribution  of random squares (see below) in your area, as well as on your own experience and preferences, you may be asked to take on the surveys in one of these squares, or to look for Peregrines in other areas. Casual recorders are encouraged to contribute by submitting records observed from March to July 2014, together with evidence of breeding, to BirdTrack.

When to take part

Between March and mid July 2014. Please take care to avoid disturbing breeding Peregrines during this survey. Peregrines are a protected species, and it is a legal offence to disturb them at their nest sites. More details on the disturbance risks and licensing requirements can be found in the Guidelines for Contributors.

How to take part

Organisation of the Peregrine Survey at the local level will vary from region to region.  Some regions will be organised by a member of a Raptor Study Group whilst others will be organised by the BTO Regional Representative, or a combination of the two. The list of local organisers will be given here as soon as possible.

If you are interested in taking part please contact the following: Scotland & Northern Ireland -  Mark Wilson at BTO Scotland (mark.wilson [at], 01786 466560), Wales - Kelvin Jones (kelvin.jones [at], 01248 383285); England - your BTO Regional Representative or Dawn Balmer (dawn.balmer [at], 01842 750050). For the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands please contact Dawn Balmer.

Why we are running a Peregrine survey

  • The Bird Atlas results suggest a number of areas, mainly in the uplands, from which breeding Peregrines declined in recent years in terms of range or abundance. These include substantial parts of the central, north and west Scottish highlands, south-west Scotland and parts of Cumbria, Wales and areas across Ireland.
  • It is a key requirement of conservation agencies to have up-to-date Peregrine population estimates for each of the 4 countries of the UK (including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands), and changes at this scale since the last survey.
  • The majority of sites are known and will be revisited as part of this survey. However, we are also including a sampling approach, in order to improve comparisions between areas (and, in the future, years) where there are differences in monitoring efforts.
  • We would also like to generate some within-country regional estimates, and numbers on sites designated (SPAs and SSSIs) for Peregrines (this will be dependent on securing additional funding).
Peregrines at Lincoln by Graham Catley

Peregrines have recovered from the brink of extinction to their highest 
numbers this century, but some areas still showed evidence
of decline in the 2002.

Sampling in survey squares

Click here to download the detailed Peregrine survey methods (PDF, 360.2 KB).

  1. You will be allocated a randomly selected 5km by 5km squares across the Peregrine’s UK range.
  2. You will need to obtain a copy of the Peregrine survey form from your local organiser.
  3. We will ask you to search each square for suitable habitat (e.g. cliffs, crags, quarries, pylons, industrial buildings, cathedrals, bridges) and to look for the presence of Peregrines.
  4. You will be encouraged to make 3 visits to the square between March and mid July. The main aim of the first and second visit is to locate Peregrines in the square and establish their breeding status. On your third visit look for evidence of breeding success.