The Breeding Bird Survey

The 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.

Covering all habitat types and monitoring 110 common and widespread breeding birds using a randomised site selection.
Bird and mammals during core BBS counts. Butterflies and moths as optional extra, requiring separate visits to the 1-km BBS square, and contributing to the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS).
Farmland, Grassland, Heathland, Towns and Gardens, Plantation and orchard, Upland, Wetland, streams and rivers, Woodland, Coastal
UK Wide
UK Wide
For the BBS as a whole: British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). For the WCBS: BTO, Butterfly Conservation (BC) and the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology (CEH).
Sarah Harris BBS National Organiser at BTO
Contact emails:
How to take part:
Time varies on breeding birds

How to get involved

Volunteers need to know their common breeding birds by sight and sound. To find out more about taking-part, visit the BTO website
To contact your local organiser and find out about available squares locally, complete this short form

Related info

Methods for surveys:
Methodology and survey design can be found on the BTO website

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