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.
The BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the main scheme for monitoring the population changes of the UK’s common and widespread breeding birds, producing population trends for 117 bird and nine mammal species. The survey involves a recce visit and two early-morning spring visits to an allocated 1-km square, to count all the birds you see or hear while walking two 1-km lines across the square and record any nest counts for colonial nesting birds in the square. You can optionally record mammals and visit your square later in the season to survey for butterflies. There is the option to return data on paper, via field recording forms or to submit your data on BBS-Online.
Time / skill required
- February – March Forms sent or downloaded, depending on individual preferences
- March Optional reconnaissance visit to check access, routes and to record habitat data
- Early April – mid May Early season BBS visit
- Mid May – late June Late season BBS visit, at least four weeks after Early visit
- May – August optional Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey on BBS squares: minimum of two visits between July and August, ten days apart
- End of August Data entry deadline via on BBS Online or forms sent to Regional Organsier
Count butterflies in your BBS square
Take part in the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey by making additional visits to your BBS square.
Read the latest BBS report
The Breeding Bird Survey started in 1994, and a report is produced every year containing population changes and other results from the scheme.Read the 2018 report now
BBS Report reveals impact of 'Beast from the East'
The new BBS report shows the impact that severe 2018 weather may have had on some of our birds.
New look BBS Online
The data entry system for the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS) has been updated.