Latest Research

Knot flock by Dawn Balmer

Waders wane while geese gain

A major new study led by BTO, working with the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) partners, JNCC, RSPB and in association with WWT, provides detailed information on the importance of Great Britain for waterbirds each winter.
Corn Bunting by Mark R Taylor

Land sparing and bird conservation

As demand for food increases, a crucial question in conservation is how to limit the negative impacts of agriculture on biodiversity. ‘Land sparing’ has been proposed as a strategy to address this problem, with high-yield agriculture minimising the area of farmland so that other land can be spared for conservation. Research – mostly from tropical regions – suggests that most species would achieve larger populations under a land-sparing strategy than under a strategy in which lower-yielding wildlife-friendly farmland delivers food production over a larger total area.

Tagged Cuckoo, photograph by Chris Hewson

Tracking a research revolution

Newly-published work by BTO has reviewed the long-term patterns in the use of tracking devices on individual birds, and how the effects of the use of such devices are reported. This work highlights the continuing need for more systematic documentation of potential effects in peer-reviewed publications, to support more rigorous science and to further improve bird welfare.
Ringed Plover, photograph by Jill Pakenham

A tale of two plovers

BTO research sheds light on the differing fortunes of two small UK-breeding waders.
Chaffinch by Jill Pakenham

Garden BirdWatchers allow us to better understand disease in British finches

Weekly reports from BTO Garden BirdWatchers, as well as ad hoc sightings of disease from members of the public to Garden Wildlife Health, have aided our understanding of leg lesions (more commonly referred to as ‘scaly leg’ or ‘tassel foot’) in British finches.