The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the main scheme for monitoring the population changes of the UK’s common breeding birds. You do not need to belong to the BTO in order to participate in this survey.
Taking part in the BBS
Thousands of volunteer birdwatchers make standardised counts on randomly located sites during the breeding season, enabling the BTO to monitor changes in numbers of over 100 widespread bird species. BBS bird population trends are widely used for bird research and conservation. Taking part is easy – just visit a local 1-km square during the breeding season, and record all birds you see or hear.
Interested and able to identify common birds by call, song and sight? Here is some more information.
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.
A brief summary
The survey is designed to be a simple and enjoyable birdwatching exercise. Volunteers make just three visits to randomly located 1-km squares, the first to record habitat and to set up a suitable survey route (although if a 1 km square has been surveyed in the past the route will already be set up and a map of the route provided) and the second and third (between April and June) to record birds that are seen or heard while walking along the route. BBS volunteers can also record mammals seen during their surveys, and can also collect data on butterflies (although this is done later in the year in July and August but following the same route)
The survey is relatively simple in terms of time commitment. You are asked to visit the site once in order to work out the habitat (as you will need to complete a form describing the different types of habitat which are there). I can always help you with describing the habitat if you find this difficult. Then two surveys are required. One survey takes place between the beginning of April and the middle of May and the other between the middle of May and the end of June. As the survey is supposed to try and identify all the breeding birds it is better, as Surrey is in the south of the country, to do the surveys earlier rather than later in each period. The two surveys do need to be four weeks apart. You do two walks along two “transects” in a 1 KM square so the actual survey would cover 2 KM. However you would have to walk further than that unless you can persuade someone to drive you to the start, pick you up at the end of the first 1 KM walk, drop you at the start of the next one and then collect you at the end of the second 1 KM survey. The results can be entered on-line.
Previous experience of survey work is not necessary. Help and support from experienced volunteers can be arranged if required. I can also supply you with some CDs to help you learn bird songs and calls.
Here is a link to the BTO website where all the BBS survey forms and instructions can be downloaded if you would like more information
Here are the sites which currently need a BBS surveyor.
If you already are a surveyor and would like to try out the new field recording form click here for the form.
Please contact me if you want more information or to call you, or to request one of the sites.