Wild birds can be affected by many different types of parasite or disease. In many cases these have relatively little impact on the individual, but in some cases they can cause illness or even death. Much of BTO's work in this area assesses the prevalence of disease in birds using gardens. Birds coming to feeders often congregate more closely than they would in the wild, so the risk of disease transmission can be increased. BTO works to understand how to minimise these risks, and to provide advice on the safest way to feed birds.
Long-term trends of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) show widespread contamination of a bird-eating predator, the Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) in Britain
Scientists from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, BTO and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland examined the carcasses of 259 Sparrowhawks which died between 1995 and 2015. Using preserved...
Identifying, understanding and solving conservation issues
BTO's CEO Juliet explains how we use our data to drive positive change for the UK's birds.
Goose and Swan Monitoring Programme
This project tracks the abundance and breeding success of the UK’s native geese and migratory swans through winter surveys.
Tackling the challenge of avian influenza
Director of Science James Pearce-Higgins discusses Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and BTO's role in the response to the current outbreak.
Charting the impact of a Usutu virus outbreak in UK Blackbirds
The identification of the Usutu virus in Greater London in the summer of 2020 raises questions about the extent of the incursion and its impacts on wild bird populations.
Effect of a joint policy statement by nine UK shooting and rural organisations on the use of lead shotgun ammunition for hunting common pheasants Phasianus colchicus in Britain
BTO and COVID-19
BTO statement on participating in surveys during the Coronavirus pandemic (UPDATED 17.01.2022).
Disease in birds - a masterclass
Disease can have serious implications for our wild bird populations, as Wildife Vets from the Zoological Society of London explain.
Quantifying the spatial risk of Avian Influenza introduction into British poultry by wild birds
Migratory passerine birds in Britain carry Phytophthora ramorum inoculum on their feathers and "feet" at low frequency
Avian malaria linked to decline in London's House Sparrows
The once ubiquitous House Sparrow is now absent from many urban areas. New research suggests that malarial parasites may be involved in this decline.
Garden BirdWatchers allow us to better understand disease in British finches
Weekly reports from BTO Garden BirdWatchers, as well as ad hoc sightings of disease from members of the public to Garden Wildlife Health, have aided our understanding of leg lesions (more commonly...
Dodging the blades: gulls and wind farms
Initial findings suggest that Lesser Black-backed Gulls in north-west England fly within wind farms, but may avoid wind turbines once there.
Report on the welfare of your garden wildlife
Tell us about sick and diseased wildlife found in your garden. Garden BirdWatch participants can also add observations when entering their usual GBW counts.