Dawn Balmer

Head of Surveys

The Surveys Team at the BTO runs most of its large-scale bird surveys, including the Wetland Bird Survey, Breeding Bird Survey, BirdTrack, Waterways Breeding Bird Survey and Heronries Census. In addition, Dawn also maintains and coordinates the Regional Network, BTO's network of volunteer Regional Representatives. She also has responsibility for Regional Conferences.

Interests & Responsibilities

The Surveys Team organises volunteer-based surveys to collect the data that are core to the BTO’s work on bird populations, including population estimates, trends and distribution. Dawn has a long-term interest in migration and movements of birds and population dynamics and was the Atlas Coordinator for Bird Atlas 2007–11.  Dawn is Secretary of the European Bird Census Council and Chair of the Rare Breeding Birds Panel.

Other Information

Director of British Birds and Editorial Board Member of British Birds, Trustee of the Eric Hosking Charitable Trust and writes regularly for British Wildlife. Member of the British Birds Rarities Committee and former member of the British Ornithologists' Union Records Committee.

Dawn is a keen birdwatcher, ringer, general naturalist and enjoys photography.

The Bird Atlas 2007–11 team were recipients of the 2014 RSPB Medal.


BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, Polytechnic South West, Plymouth 198891.

Recent BTO Publications

James W. Pearce-Higgins, Elizabeth M. Humphreys, Niall H.K. Burton, Philip W. Atkinson, Chris Pollock, Gary D. Clewley, Daniel T. Johnston, Nina J. O’Hanlon, Dawn E. Balmer, Teresa M. Frost, Sarah J. Harris & Helen Baker 2023. Highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild birds in the United Kingdom in 2022: impacts, planning for future outbreaks, and conservation and research priorities. Report on virtual workshops held in November 2022. Research Report no. 752. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford ISBN: 978-1-912642-47-2 92pp
Harris, S.J., Massimino, D., Balmer, D.E., Kelly, L., Noble, D.G., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Woodcock, P., Wotton, S. & Gillings, S. 2022. The Breeding Bird Survey 2021. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk ISBN: 978-1-912642-37-3 36pp
Gillings, S., Balmer, D.E., Harris, S.J., Massimino, D. & Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2022. Impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on capacity to monitor bird populations: a case study using the UK Breeding Bird Survey. Bird Study View at journal website (DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2021.2019187)
Soultan, A., Pavón-Jordán, D., Bradter, U., Sandercock, B., Hochachka, W., Johnston, A., Brommer, J., Gaget, E., Keller, V., Knaus, P., Aghababyan, K., Maxhuni, Q., Vintchevski, A., Nagy, K., Raudonikis, L., Balmer, D., Noble, D., Leitão, D., Øien, I.J., Shimmings, P., Sultanov, E., Caffrey, B., Boyla, D., Radišić, Lindström, Å., Velevski, M., Pladevall, C., Brotons, L., Karel, Š., Rajković, D.Z., Chodkiewicz, T., Wilk, T.,. Tibor, S., van Turnhout, C., Foppen, R., Burfield, I., Vikstrøm, T., Mazal, V.D., Eaton, M., Vorisek, P., Lehikoinen, A., Herrando, S., Kuzmenko, T., Bauer, H-G., Kalyakin, M., Voltzit, O., Sjeničić, J. & Pärt, T. 2022. The future distribution of wetland birds breeding in Europe validated against observed changes in distribution. Environmental Research Letters View at journal website (DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac4ebe)
Harris, S.J., Massimino, D., Balmer, D.E., Eaton, M.A., Noble, D.G., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Woodcock, P. & Gillings, S. 2021. The Breeding Bird Survey 2020. Research Report no. 736. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk ISBN: 978-1-912642-28-1

Content Related to Dawn Balmer