British Trust for Ornithology surveys in Worcestershire

Harry Green or 01386 710377

BTO Worcestershire Regional Representative

Please contact me if you are interested in participating in any of these surveys. Now the Atlas field work is finished you may like to undertake other surveys such as Breeding Birds Survey (BBS) or entre records into the BirdTrack system.

Bird Atlas 2007–11

The very large number of records collected for this survey, both in breeding and wintering seasons, throughout Britain and Ireland indicates that the resulting atlas is going to be an amazing publication surpassing all previous atlases. Coverage of Worcestershire has been extremely good and very many thanks to all who have helped. If you have any outstanding records please send them is as quickly as you can by entering them on-line or sending me paper forms. Closure dates are very close so don’t delay. Confirmation of breeding within the last four years is particularly useful so even a single record could be the confirmatory observation.

Neighbouring counties of Shropshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire are undertaking detailed tetrad atlases and their survey work may be continuing for another year. Help may be needed along Worcestershire borders. Please see for a list of local atlas projects.

Special Survey

Breeding Nightingale Survey 2012

See separate article: Breeding Nightingale Survey 2012

Perennial Surveys

BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey - BBS

BBS is a long-term annual survey aimed at keeping track of changes in the breeding populations of widespread bird species in the UK. Volunteers survey randomly selected 1x1km squares, walking two 1 km transects within each square, and recording birds in distance bands on either side. Basic habitat is also recorded. The surveys are repeated every year. Forms for recording mammals are included as an optional extra. BBS currently monitors population changes for over 100 bird species, and the results are used by UK Government and other organisations to monitor changes and to set conservation priorities. BBS is probably the most important survey organised by the BTO

Over 60 1x1km squares are surveyed in Worcestershire for BBS. Several squares are currently vacant and additional ones have also been allocated for 2012 so if you are interested in taking part please contact me as soon as possible. A full and clear set of instructions and forms are sent when a survey is started. The fieldwork results are easily entered on-line or can be sent in on paper forms.

Butterfly surveys in conjunction with BBS

2011 was the third year of the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS), a partnership with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and Butterfly Conservation, and funding has been confirmed for at least the next three years. This is proving to be a very useful national survey for monitoring butterflies in the wider countryside and can be done in conjunction with BBS if you wish.

The Nest Record Scheme NRS

This scheme collects basic information from birds’ nests (dates of egg laying, hatching, fledging etc) and is of great importance in tracking success or otherwise of breeding birds. This data has to be collected with care to minimalise disturbance and full information on how to do the survey is available from BTO.

A brand new NRS leaflet is available together with an updated version of the Quickstart Guide. If you want to know more please contact the scheme directly Records are submitted on cards supplied by BTO or on-line using special software available from the web site.

Waterways Breeding Bird Survey

This is a small-scale survey. Observers make BBS-style transect visits to randomly selected stretches of waterway throughout the UK; a few non-random stretches (previous Waterways Bird Survey plots) are also covered. If you are interested contact John Marchant at BTO to see what is available or if you prefer contact me first.

Heronries Census

Observers count occupied nests in heronries throughout the UK. If nests cannot be counted, a note of whether a heronry is active or not in a particular season is of value. The results are recorded on special cards supplied by BTO.

All Year Surveys

BTO Garden BirdWatch

Contact: Mike Toms for full information or look at the web site

Year-round nationwide survey of birds in gardens using weekly logs of birds seen. Cost £15 to participate for which observers get all the recording instructions and a regular magazine. The scheme provides lots of important data on birds using gardens. Several thousand people involved locally. Can be done from your window!

BirdTrack (

BirdTrack is free online bird recording system for Britain & Ireland developed through a partnership between BTO, RSPB, BirdWatch Ireland and SOC. It is a year-round recording scheme that uses data from birdwatchers’ records to support species and site conservation at local, national and international scales. Results produced by BirdTrack include mapping the migration and movements of birds and monitoring of scarce birds in Britain and Ireland.

Anyone can use the BirdTrack system which is an excellent way of storing your observations (which remain easily accessible) as well as making them usefully available. I do encourage every bird watcher of whatever level and ability to use the system. Log on to the web site and investigate! The site and methods are improving all the time and have developed a lot from the methods used for entering records on-line for the Atlas.

This autumn and winter BTO is encouraging birdwatchers to use BirdTrack to gather more information about winter thrushes by using the optional ‘count’, ‘activity’,’ habitat’, and ‘direction of flight fields’ when recording Redwing and Fieldfare. Not only will these detailed records give information about what is happening this autumn and winter, but they will also help to inform the design of the BTO winter thrush survey for winter 2012-2013.

BTO Abnormal plumage survey

There are several different forms of naturally occurring plumage abnormality centred on altered amounts of pigment in feathers, bill, eyes and legs. These include melanism (in which the amount of black and/or brown melanin pigment is elevated), leucism (where there is loss of pigment), erythrism (where a chestnut-red pigment replaces certain other pigments) and flavism (where there is an excess of yellow pigment). Albinism, which can result from either the complete or partial absence of melanin pigment in the skin, feathers and eyes, may produce birds with completely white plumage, red eyes and legs.

The BTO are running a survey in an attempt to find out how common are plumage aberrations, which species are affected, which aberrations are commonest, and if these aberrations are commoner in some areas than in others. Anyone who sees an abnormally coloured individual in their garden should note down the type of plumage aberration, the species of bird, if the bird was breeding locally, if the behaviour different from that of the normal-plumaged birds around it and, of course, the location of the observation. See for more information. Survey forms can be completely online at the