Bird Atlas 2007–11

NEW Bird Atlas Mapstore

Now freely available online - over 3,500 maps showing the distribution, range change and abundance for over 500 bird species that have been recorded in Britain and Ireland during the atlases spanning 1968 to 2011. Bird Atlas Mapstore hosts all those extra maps that we couldn't fit into the books!


Bird Atlas 2007–11

Bird Atlas 2007–11 is one of the most ambitious volunteer projects ever undertaken, to map birds in both winter and the breeding season from every inch of Britain and Ireland. Bird Atlas was a partnership between BTO, BirdWatch Ireland and the Scottish Ornithologists' Club.

The fieldwork is now complete and we are keen to make the most of the data collected. The BTO aims to go 'Beyond the Maps' to investigate the changes highlighted by Bird Atlas.

Discover how the data are being used now for direct conservation work in the UK, and read about BirdWatch Ireland's work.

Key findings

For nearly all of the 300 species covered by the Atlas, changes have taken place, be they range contractions, expansions, location shifts or subtle changes in abundance

  • Over the last 40 years the British breeding ranges of 37% of species have contracted, whereas 38% have expanded to new areas. In Ireland, 47% have contracted and 18% expanded
  • 13 species, including Cuckoo, Swallow and Bullfinch, have increased in Ireland and northen Britain but decreased in lowland Britain
  • If we don’t act now it may be too late for some species. Ring Ouzel, Snipe and Whinchat are all showing significant declines.

  • The UK breeding distribution for Short-eared Owl has almost halved in the last 40 years

  • Severe declines for breeding waders such as Redshank and Curlew

  • Why are woodland birds like Hawfinch, Wood Warbler and Willow Tit are amongst the 20 species showing the greatest range contractions in Britain?

Bird Atlas - Beyond the maps

Next steps

With your support we are starting an ambitious two year programme of scientific research (using data from Bird Atlas 200711) called Beyond the Maps that will be used by us, and other organisations, to answer the pressing conservation questions of the next decade. Read an update on the work here.

Donateto Beyond the Maps

Dr Simon Gillings, BTO Senior Research Ecologist

"We need to analyse the huge amounts of data we collected for the Bird Atlas so we can make robust evidence-based recommendations to help bird species which appear to be declining in numbers, like the Bullfinch, Short-eared Owl and Redshank" .

BTO Senior Research Ecologist, Dr Simon Gillings

Bird Atlas Video

Watch our video Unpacking Bird Atlas 2007–11 to find out more about the making of this book.