Counters are the lifeblood of WeBS. Without the dedication of the volunteers who go out in all weathers to monitor the UK's waterbirds, WeBS just wouldn't be able to function.
What type of counts are carried out?
What is required?
The survey involves visiting a local wetland site once a month throughout the winter and count the waterbirds there. We do welcome counts from all months of the year but the main period we ask our counters to concentrate on is September through to March.
What skills are required?
Anyone can take part, even beginners to birdwatching. Unlike many bird surveys, you don't have to know bird songs or calls to carry out WeBS Counts - just the ability to identify common waterbirds.
BTO runs a number of 1-day and weekend training courses, centered on teaching bird survey techniques. Filter to "Wetland Bird Survey" under Event Topic to see WeBS related events. Your Local Organiser can also advise you on local training and mentoring opportunities.
How is the survey organised?
The survey is organised via a network of voluntary Local Organisers (LOs). Your LO will give you more information, and will be able to allocate you a WeBS site to count.
Where are the survey sites?
How do I get involved?
To get started, please browse our interactive vacant sites map. Vacant sites are coloured different shades of blue depending upon their priority level. You can navigate using the on-screen controls or you can use the drop-down options to zoom to a specific postcode, grid reference or WeBS region. To register your interest for surveying a site:-
- Select a site and click on the 'view details' button.
- Click on the blue 'Contact the Local Organiser' button and complete the form that will appear. This will send an email to the LO for that site. A copy of the email will be sent to you.
- The LO will get in contact to talk to you about the survey and the site before allocating the site to you.
- Once a site has been agreed, please register for WeBS Online as either a new or an existing online user. Once you have done that please send your username (not your password) to your LO so that they can allocate the site to you.
- Visit the Counter Resources section for more information about the scheme and bird ID videos.
How do I return my data?
WeBS Online is the easiest and most convenient way to send your data to us.
See our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Wader ID virtual training (2 sessions, Wednesdays 10am)
The August run of our Wader ID course sold out within 3 days! If you want to register your interest in a future run of this course, please email training [at] bto.org. For priority booking on our UK-wide online courses...
Working together for seabirds
BTO work supports effective monitoring of our seabirds and aims to provide opportunities for a new generation of seabird surveyors.