The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS)

If you like birdwatching and would enjoy visiting a wetland site near you once a month in winter, then why not join in the Wetland Bird Survey?

The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. 3000 WeBS counters make monthly counts at wetlands, continuing a tradition begun in 1947. The principal aims of WeBS are to identify population sizes, determine trends in numbers and distribution, and identify important sites for wildfowl, waders and other waterbirds.

Non-breeding waterbirds in the UK
Wetland - lakes, ponds, reservoirs, gravel pits, estuaries, coastal, marshes, streams and rivers
UK Wide
UK Wide
British Trust for Ornithology
Funding body:
WeBS is a partnership between the British Trust for Ornithology, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (the last on behalf of the statutory nature conservation bodies: Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage and the Department of the Environment Northern Ireland) in association with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
WeBS Team at BTO
Contact emails:

How to get involved

What’s involved?
You are asked to visit your site once a month during the winter period (September to March) although counts are welcomed all year round. Coastal sites are visited at high tide and large sites are split into count sectors and covered by teams of counters. You’ll need to identify all the waterbird species regularly occurring at your site and to count how many of each species is present on each visit.

Where are the survey sites?
A WeBS site can be any wetland area, be it an estuary, lake or reservoir to a river, stream or even your local village duck pond. Many of the larger sites are regularly counted, but vacancies do appear from time to time, needing new counters. However, even counts from small water bodies are important in estimating waterbird populations. Your WeBS Local Organiser or the WeBS office can assist with finding a site near you.

How do I return my data?
The easiest and most convenient way to send your data to us is via the WeBS Online recording facility.

How do I get involved?
Visit the website above to find out more and to contact your Local Organiser or the WeBS Office to register. New counters are sent an introductory pack.

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