Systematic bird surveys are central to understanding what is happening with bird populations and to planning conservation. Many members contribute to the major national surveys carried out by the British trust for Ornithology, such as the Breeding Bird Survey and the Wetland Bird Survey, and the Club operates its own Garden Bird Survey. Information on current surveys is given below, together with the people to contact if you would like to take part.

BOC surveys

BOC target species

Target species are chosen annually as birds whose status we believe may be changing and are trying to learn more about, so are asking observers to send in their records to the Recorder. For 2020 the target species are Lapwing, Firecrest, Willow Tit and Marsh Tit in the breeding season.

Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)

An annual national survey of all birds recorded on two 1km transects of randomly selected 1km squares on two visits in he breeding season. Organiser: British Trust for Ornithology. Berkshire Representative: Sean Murphy

The BBS measures the abundance of the commoner species found in the breeding season and is used to estimate population trends at regional and national levels, which are published annually. The Berkshire data are used to estimate a Berkshire Bird Index and county trends in abundance, which are published in the Birds of Berkshire Annual Reports from 2011.

Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS)

A monthly survey of wetland sites to monitor the abundance of wildfowl and waders nationally. WeBS results are published annually and data are available from the BTO.  Organiser: British Trust for Ornithology. Berkshire Representative: Sean Murphy (,

Swift Survey

The RSPB do an annual swift survey. Records in 2014 were considerably lower than before in Berkshire and across the country, perhaps due to development pressure.  This record set is important for Swift Conservation and others to encourage developers to install swift boxes in suitable areas and challenge damaging developments. Swifts will use artificial nest sites if located correctly and the cost to developers is tiny.  Recording is easy to do: just one record per site a year. Please help by going to to the RSPB’s Swift Survey page to  record sightings of:
a. Definite nest sites where you have seen swifts going into cracks in buildings
b. Screaming parties: groups of swifts flying at roof level noisily
c. Missing nest sites: places where you used to see swifts, but not any longer.