The Breeding Bird Survey

The BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the main scheme for monitoring the population changes of the UK’s common breeding birds. It is a national volunteer project aimed at keeping track of changes in the breeding populations of widespread bird species in the UK. Wild bird populations are an important indicator of the health of the countryside, and knowing to what extent bird populations are increasing or decreasing is fundamental to bird conservation.

Latest BBS news

Volunteer fieldworker by Dawn Balmer

The 2017 BBS season

Can you spare two mornings to walk a BBS 1-km square and count the birds present between April and June? Data collected is used in research and to produce annual population trends for over 100 breeding birds across the UK. If you know your birds by sight and sound, please get in touch with your Regional Organiser to find a square near you.

For existing BBS volunteers, we have online videos to assist with data input and a new twitter account, @BBS_birds. Thanks for taking part and here's to a successful 2017 survey season!

BBS form, David Tipling

Submitting BBS data for 2017

There are now three tutorial videos available, covering three aspects of the BBS Online system to help those using the online system to submit and edit 2017 data:

Logging in and entering data

Mapping and editing your route  

Editing data

All three can be found on the BBS-Online webpage, along with further information on the online system. Remember, when entering data; using the tab button on the keyboard to move from one data entry box to another is quicker than clicking with the mouse. Thanks for taking part in the BBS.

Grasshopper Warbler. Photograph by Amy Lewis

Recording detectability in BBS

Volunteers are able to optionally record how birds were first detected (visually, by call or by song) on their BBS square. This was introduced, for the first time in 2014, and will help us to calculate the differences in detectability between males and females, and birds that are seen or heard. To find out more please read about the methods here.