About BTO

Bearded Tit. Colin Edwards
BTO - looking out for birds

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is a UK charity that focuses on understanding birds and, in particular, how and why bird populations are changing. Our vision is of a world where people are inspired by birds and informed by science.

We strive to achieve this vision by harnessing the skills and passion of thousands of volunteers to advance our understanding of ornithology, in particular, through our bird surveys and schemes. We combine the resulting scientific outputs with interesting stories and powerful images to engage more people in this work and to inspire people to take action. Working in partnership with volunteers we have been monitoring the UK’s birds since 1933 and have extended our coverage to include other wildlife too.

An agenda for change

As part of our external work, building our constituency and partnerships, we have set out 10 actions that we hope will ensure the BTO becomes more widely known and our work delivers even more impact for decision-makers and for society as a whole. These 10 actions form the basis of 'An Agenda for Change', which was launched at the House of Lords in 2019.

Download our Agenda for Change (PDF)

We are a non-campaigning organisation and our aim is to conduct all of our work with the highest scientific rigour in order to produce robust evidence that can be used by anyone wishing to understand birds, other wildlife, their habitats and how different interventions may affect them. Our data now also cover mammals, dragonflies, amphibians and bees and we are an active sharer of information with other NGOs. The data, information and interpretation we produce is frequently used to secure protection for special wildlife sites, to set conservation priorities, to shape Government policy, and to steer decisions over planning applications and new developments. We have an active and growing family of members and volunteers who help to ensure the continuation of our work though their financial support.

Spotted Flycatcher. Photograph by David Jefferson
Featured appeal

Spotted Flycatcher Appeal

Help us pinpoint why Spotted Flycatchers are dying, and address the alarming declines that we have charted over the last 50 years.