Get involved in Scotland

By participating in BTO schemes and surveys you can put your birding skills to good use, helping us to understand how Scotland's bird populations are changing and why.

We have a broad range of participation opportunities - you can get involved in your garden, urban greenspace, at wetland sites or while out exploring Scotland's wilder places.

View all current projects or view the list of completed projects.

Chiffchaff by Paul Newton

Breeding Bird Survey

BBS monitors the population changes of 117 breeding bird species across the UK thanks to the dedication of almost 3,000 volunteers who survey their randomly selected 1-km square each spring.

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • Undertake three site visits between April and June - a recce and two morning visits, along with data entry.
  • Able to identify UK breeding birds by sight, song and call.
Mountain Hare. Andy Howard

Volunteer Mountain Hare Survey

This project aims to gather much-needed information about Mountain Hares in Scotland. Volunteers record hares and (optionally) upland birds via the Mammal Mapper app.

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • Flexible – either record during your existing upland walks, or sign up to cover higher priority 1 km squares. You can take part year-round at any time of day.
  • No pre-existing wildlife survey experience needed. Smartphone required.
WeBS counting. Photograph by Teresa Frost

Wetland Bird Survey

The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK.

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • One visit per month, preferably on the Sunday Core Count priority date.
  • Identify waterbirds that regularly occur at your allocated WeBS site.
Arctic Tern Photographer Jeremy Moore

BirdTrack

BirdTrack is a free and convenient way of storing your bird records online. BirdTrack lets you keep up to date with what others are seeing, view the latest trends, and contribute your data to BTO science.

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • There is no minimum time commitment.
  • Ideally you will have fairly good bird identification skills.
Robin. John Harding

Garden BirdWatch

Help with research into garden wildlife by joining our Garden BirdWatch community

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Time / skill needed:
  • As much as you like, but a minimum of 20 minutes per week recommended.
  • Can identify common garden birds by sight.
Long-tailed Tit nest. Photograph by Elspeth Rowe

Nest Record Scheme

The Nest Record Scheme gathers vital information on the breeding success of Britain's birds by asking volunteers to find and follow the progress of individual birds' nests.

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Time / skill needed:
  • A few minutes on a nest in a garden to a full time project in the field.
  • Count eggs and chicks in nests by following the Code of Conduct.
Greenfinch in the hand having its wing measured, by Dawn Balmer

Bird Ringing Scheme

Bird ringing generates information on the survival, productivity and movements of birds, helping us to understand why populations are changing.

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • It usually takes a year or more, ringing regularly with qualified ringers, to obtain a ringing permit.
  • Basic bird identification skills and reasonable dexterity are required.
Dipper by Edmund Fellowes

Waterways Breeding Bird Survey

The Waterways Breeding Bird Survey is an annual survey of breeding birds along rivers and canals.

Learn more

Time / skill needed:
  • Undertake three site visits between April and June - a recce and two morning visits, along with data entry.
  • Able to identify UK breeding birds by sight, song and call.


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