Status of common bird monitoring and atlas work in UK


Present schemes

Breeding Bird Survey - Transect routes in summer on random 1-km squares (n = 2500 in 2004) from 1994 to present.

Previous schemes

Common Birds Census - Territory mapping census plots in summer from 1962 to 2000 (ca. 300/year).

Recent publications

Raven, M.J., Noble, D.G & Baillie, S.R. 2005. The Breeding Bird Survey 2004. BTO Research Report 403. BTO, Thetford.

Newson, S.E., Woodburn, R.J.W., Noble, D.G. Baillie, S.R. & Gregory, R.D. 2005. Evaluating the Breeding Bird Survey for producing national population size and density estimates. Bird Study 52: 42-54.

Contact person

Sarah Harris, British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU, UK. E-mail:

Home page (see results and download annual reports)

Atlas work

Latest atlas

Census period: 1988-1991. Method: Breeding criteria in 10 x 10 km squares. Some species counted. Maps of relative abundance generated from counts and frequency indices. Densities estimated for common terrestrial species based on mapping censuses. Atlas published in 1993 (Gibbons et al. 1993).

Previous atlases

Shorrock, J.T.R. 1976. The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain & Ireland. Poyser. Covers the period 1968-72.

Lack, P.C. 1986. The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain & Ireland. Poyser. Covers period 1981-84.

Ongoing atlases

A new combined breeding and wintering bird atlas is planned for 2008-2011, with pilot work started in 2005. New data will be comparable with previous atlases, but is likely to include new elements.


Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993. The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland: 1988-1991. T & A D Poyser.

Contact person

Simon Gillings, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU. Email:

Home page

Other Current National Surveys

1) Wetland Bird Survey (

2) Scarce Woodland Bird Survey 2005-2006


3) National Dartford Warbler & Woodlark Survey 2006

Latest update 18 April 2006


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