BTO

BTO: UK’s mud-loving birds sinking fast

Lapwing (Copyright: Edmund Fellows)

The latest BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) report provides a stark warning for our breeding waders. The UK holds internationally important numbers of breeding waders and it is worrying to report their continued decline – Redshank is down by 49%, Curlew and Lapwing by 48%, Common Sandpiper by 28% and Oystercatcher by 22% over the last 25 years.

For many of these wader species, land management measures such as sensitive woodland and forestry planning, water level control, the creation or restoration of wet areas and implementing beneficial grazing practices and delaying grassland mowing regimes can help boost breeding productivity locally.

Overwintering Swallows

Swallow by Amy Lewis

Swallows have started spending the winter in Britain instead of migrating 6,000 miles to South Africa, according to the British Trust for Ornithology.

The change in behaviour is one of the most remarkable signs yet of the warming world being caused by climate change, according to the BTO’s chief executive, Juliet Vickery.

Volunteers provide vital new information on the UK's breeding Tawny Owls

Tawny Owl, BTO

Thanks to the efforts of nearly 10,000 'citizen scientists' we now have a much greater understanding of the UK's breeding Tawny Owls, together with much-needed information on their calling behaviour, that will help future surveys of the species. The results of this study have just been published in the journal Bird Study.

The simple act of looking out of your window can help scientific research

During the first lockdown in 2020, the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch (GBW) survey saw the number of participants double, from just over 10,000 to over 20,000 garden birdwatchers, with submissions of garden wildlife sightings up by around a third on 2019. So far in 2021 almost 4 million observations have been submitted.

City’s bright lights attract migrant birds

Redwing, Liz Cutting

Results from a new study reveal that artificial light sources associated with urban areas can disrupt the natural movement patterns of birds migrating at night across the UK. Using a combination of passive acoustic monitoring devices and the latest computing approaches, researchers Simon Gillings and Chris Scott were able to determine that calling rates of migrating Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Redwings were significantly higher over brightly lit urban areas, most likely a consequence of the birds being attracted by the artificial lighting.

British and Irish gardens fuel a novel reverse migration for Blackcaps in winter

 Blackcap by Benjamin Van Doren

The allure of garden feeders has transformed the biology of a bird that visits Britain and Ireland for the winter. New research involving the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Oxford University and the Max Planck Institute, and just published in the journal Global Change Biology, provides further evidence of how humans are shaping the natural world through simple changes in our own back gardens. Increasingly mild winters and abundant garden bird food has led Blackcaps to establish new migratory routes, lead more sedentary winter lives, and perhaps even modify their anatomy.

Pages

Subscribe to BTO