Professional Courses

Bird Survey Techniques for Professionals

BTO are renowned for the exceptionally high quality of our data and analyses. We have been developing and using various bird survey techniques for more than 80 years, and are recognised as the experts in bird survey methodology. We also have extensive experience in training people to use these methods.

What is the difference between BTO training courses for professionals and volunteers?

The Bird Survey Techniques for Professionals course is carefully tailored to the needs of the ecological/environmental professional. The methods covered in this course are territory mapping and distance sampling (point counts and line transects). There is a particular focus on the application of appropriate methodologies during the Environmental Impact Asssessment (EIA) process.

Our courses for volunteers focus on bird identification skills and how to use these in BTO volunteer surveys. They do not cover territory mapping or point count methodology, nor survey methodologies in relation to the EIA process.

Forthcoming dates

We don't have any dates finalised at this time but please contact training [at] if you are interested in this course. 

A 2-day certificated* training course in bird survey methodologies involving indoor theory sessions and plenty of practical outdoor practice, covering:

  • Overview of BTO surveys
  • Scoping and data sources
  • Distance sampling methodology and analysis – point counts and transects
  • Territory mapping methodology and analysis
  • Survey selection, design and set-up
  • Application of ornithological methods to the EIA process

Numbers on these courses are strictly limited to a maximum of 16. There will be a minimum of 2 expert trainers with the group, maintaining a high trainer-to-participant ratio.

*On completion of the 2-day course, a certificate of attendance is issued. Participants will be provided with a covering letter outlining the content of the course, on request. The course does not carry external accreditation nor does it involve any formal assessment, though guidance and feedback is given throughout the various interactive elements.

Cost and booking

The two day course of intensive training is £700 (incl. VAT).

Group bookings of two or more are eligible for a discount, please email training [at] for further details.

If there are sufficient bookings on any individual course we may be able to accept up to two unwaged individuals at £500 (incl. VAT) for the full 2-day course, on a first-come, first-served basis. Please email training [at] for further details or to register interest in this offer.

Booking terms and conditions

Payment must be received, in full, 20 working days before the course starts. If full payment is not made at the time of booking, a deposit of £100 will confirm a place until 20 working days before the course. Cancellations 20 working days or more before the start date will be reimbursed in full. As places are strictly limited, no refund is possible if we receive notice of cancellation less than 20 working days before the course start date, unless a replacement participant can be found. VAT invoices for the balance will be issued on receipt of the deposit.

Lunch and refreshments are included – please advise of any dietary requirements on booking. Accommodation is not included for these courses but we will provide local accommodation options with your booking information.

To get the most from the course, you should be able to identify most of the common resident UK woodland bird species by sight and, ideally, by sound. These courses are not suitable for complete beginners to bird identification. Please bring your own binoculars, notebook and pen.

If you would like any further information about the scope of the course, please contact Nick Moran, Training Manager, on 01842 750050 or email training [at]

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