About BTO

Gannet. Photograph by Duncan Wherrett

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an independent charitable research institute combining professional and citizen science aimed at using evidence of change in wildlife populations, particularly birds, to inform the public, opinion-formers and environmental policy- and decision-makers. Our impartiality enables our data and information to be used both by Government and NGO campaigners.

Our long-term monitoring data on the status of UK birds sets the standard worldwide for understanding the effects of environmental change on wildlife. Over 40,000 volunteer birdwatchers, in partnership with professional research scientists, collect high quality monitoring data on birds and other wildlife. The combination of professional ecologists, long-term datasets some in excess of 50 years, and volunteers participating all over the country gives the BTO a unique, impartial and knowledgeable voice in nature conservation.

We have a broad range of surveys for volunteers to participate in, from weekly counting of garden birds, through monthly winter counts of waterbirds, and sampling of breeding birds across the UK. You can record the nesting success of birds and participate in ringing, where trained volunteers mark birds to discover more about the mysteries of migration. The BTO is a ‘birds-first’ organisation, with our volunteers also collecting data on other wildlife too - we work with partner organisations to monitor everything from butterflies to badgers.

An Agenda for Change

As part of our external work, building our constituency and partnerships, we have set out 10 actions that we hope will ensure the BTO becomes more widely known and our work delivers even more impact for decision-makers and for society as a whole. These 10 actions form the basis of 'An Agenda for Change', which was launched at the House of Lords in November 2018.