• An update on the Turtle Dove National Survey 2021

    Blog post by Simon Wotton, Senior Conservation Scientist, RSPB Centre for Conservation Science.

    Survey plans

    The Rare Breeding Birds Panel and RSPB, with the support of BTO, Natural England and many county bird clubs, have been planning to run the first National Turtle Dove Survey, due to start this year subject to Covid-19 conditions. Given the late start of this survey and the proposed reduction in restrictions, we…

    • 4 Mar 2021
  • Willow tit survey blog Feb 2021

    Unfortunately, due to the level of restrictions in the current lockdown, and no signs that they will be eased very quickly, RSPB and partners have taken the decision to cancel fieldwork for the national willow tit survey this year. Simon Wotton, Senior Conservation Scientist, explains.

    The survey was due to take place from mid February to mid April, but we feel that it is best to err on the side of caution given that…

    • 23 Feb 2021
  • The RSPB and offshore wind

    To reach net zero we need to significantly change our energy systems, including a massive roll out of offshore wind. Unfortunately, the UK Government’s approach to deploying this technology and managing our seas jeopardises both action to decarbonise and deliver ocean recovery. Helen Quayle, Policy Officer, explains why we urgently need a new approach with joint solutions for the climate crisis and the ecological emergency…

    • 17 Feb 2021
  • Using counterfactual thinking to evaluate the impact of RSPB wetland reserves

    Blog by Sean Jellesmark, PhD Candidate at University College of London and the Zoological Society of London, in collaboration with the RSPB.

    In this blog, I discuss the article “A counterfactual approach to measure the impact of wet grassland conservation on UK breeding bird populations” which has recently been published in Conservation Biology.

    The article shows how data from national monitoring schemes,…

    • 9 Feb 2021
  • Wetland Success!!

    All too often in nature conservation, stories are full of doom and gloom; highlighting species in steep decline. However, today is World Wetland Day and I thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate a real conservation success story; the return of common cranes to the UK.

    Following the natural recolonisation of a few birds in 1979 and extensive conservation work, including a reintroduction programme, they are…

    • 2 Feb 2021
  • Insights from colour-ringing Little Terns

    Today's blog is by Linda Wilson, Senior Conservation Scientist.

    One of my first tasks when I joined RSPB’s Centre for Conservation Science in 2016 was to visit some beautiful sand and shingle beaches along Britain’s stunning coastline. Not a bad way to spend a few summer days. But why was this important to RSPB? It just so happens that the same places that we flock to during the great British summer are also home…

    • 1 Feb 2021
  • Hope Farm January Bird Survey Results

    Today’s blog by Derek Gruar, RSPB’s Senior Research Assistant, gives us the latest results for the winter bird count at Hope Farm, Cambridge.

    These result go out with many thanks to the intrepid surveyors braving extremely soggy conditions underfoot. Luckily that wasn't enough to deter them and the first fieldwork of the year was carried out late last week, with the second winter bird count on Hope Fa…

    • 28 Jan 2021
  • Scientists show impact of human activity on bird species

    A study by Durham University, UK, in collaboration with the RSPB, investigated how human activities such as agriculture, deforestation, and the drainage of wetlands have shaped where bird species are found in Great Britain today.

    Data was used on the geographical distributions of bird species alongside simulation models to predict where bird species would exist today if the effects of human activities on the landscape…

    • 25 Jan 2021
  • Camera trapping reveals that peatland restoration reduces small mammal prey available to generalist predators

    Guest blog by Nick Littlewood, Lecturer in Wildlife Conservation Management at SRUC, and Mark Hancock, Senior Conservation Scientist, RSPB

    We’ve known for some time that planting non-native conifer trees on blanket bog is bad news for biodiversity. As well as the habitat directly impacted, the effects of plantations, and especially of the generalist predators that they support, extend out across unplanted peatland. What…

    • 21 Jan 2021
  • Planting a new bridge for twinflower in the Cairngorms

    Today’s blog is by RSPB Ellie Dimambro-Denson, Monitoring Officer and Pip Gullett, Conservation Scientist – both working with the Cairngorms Connect project.

    Twinflower (Linnaea borealis) is a small delicate flower, native to pinewoods in Scotland. Interestingly, the first half of twinflower’s scientific name, Linnaea, comes from Carl Linnaeus, the ‘father of modern taxonomy’ who created the system…

    • 14 Jan 2021
  • How natural climate solutions provide a win for both biodiversity and climate

    Today's guest blog is by the Endangered Landscapes Programme which aims to restore natural ecological processes, species populations and habitats for a better and more sustainable future. It signals a shift away from a narrative of ‘slowing declines’ and ‘no net loss’ to a positive and creative conservation agenda in which the potential of our land and seas is recognised.

    Scientists, policymakers…

    • 12 Jan 2021
  • A new method to track the escalation and de-escalation of conflicts in conservation

    Guest blog by Dr Jeremy Cusack, researcher at the Centre for Ecosystem Modelling and Monitoring, Universidad Mayor, Chile, and Dr Tom Bradfer-Lawrence, Conservation Scientist at RSPB

    We live in a time of unprecedented biodiversity loss, driven by the intensification and expansion of human activities. But while conserving natural ecosystems and their component species is of the utmost priority for some, for many others…

    • 9 Jan 2021
  • 22,000 seabirds saved in Namibia every year thanks to the Albatross Task Force and fishing industry

    Guest blog by Alan Munro, International Marine Policy Project Officer.

    Everyone loves a good news story! And boy do we have one…hold on tight.

    After over a decade of work with the country’s fishing industry and fisheries managers, the Albatross Task Force (ATF) in Namibia are celebrating a major conservation success. A new paper hot off the press shows that seabird deaths in the Namibian demersal longline…

    • 7 Jan 2021
  • The Importance of the RSPB's 'Project Puffin'

    Today's blog is by one of our newest puffineers, Will Bevan.

    A couple of months ago I joined the RSPB's Project Puffin team as a volunteer. Originating in 2017, the project set out to discover how puffin diet was changing at colonies around the UK, and whether this was linked to worrying declines of this iconic seabird. A great example of citizen science in action, it is beginning to reveal how warming oceans might…

    • 5 Jan 2021
  • Hope Farm December Bird Count Blog

    Today’s blog by Derek Gruar, RSPB’s Senior Research Assistant, gives us the latest results for their winter bird count at Hope Farm, Cambridge.

    After a summer of furlough, it was great to be back out surveying birds on Hope Farm earlier this month. Our survey of the whole farm yielded a total of 1259 individual birds of 38 species which again favourably compared the first ever winter farm survey in December…

    • 23 Dec 2020
  • We must change what we eat and how it is produced to prevent profound biodiversity loss

    A new paper published today assesses the impact on biodiversity that the global food system could have if not changed. It also estimates the reduction in impact associated with changes in food production and diet. Graeme Buchanan, Head of International Conservation Science, explains more.

    As international biodiversity targets are set to be updated in 2021, discussions on slowing and reversing biodiversity loss focus are…

    • 22 Dec 2020
  • The State of the UK’s Birds 2020

    Today’s report, the State of the UK’s Birds, highlights what’s been happening with our avian fauna, looking at the winner and losers over time. Fiona Burns, Senior Conservation Scientist, explains in this blog.

    For over twenty years, the State of the UK’s Birds (SUKB) report has been a comprehensive snapshot of how birds are doing in the UK, and its Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies. Thanks…

    • 17 Dec 2020
  • Scientists call for a robust goal for species in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

    Blog by Professor Richard Gregory, Head of Monitoring Conservation Science at the RSPB, on a new paper published today by a group of international researchers in the journal Conservation Letters, that argues for a robust and ‘SMART’ goal for species in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

    As if waking from a troublesome dream comes the realisation that humanity…

    • 11 Dec 2020
  • The European Breeding Bird Atlas 2: a book of epic proportions

    Today marks a milestone for biodiversity monitoring with launch of the second European Breeding Bird Atlas (“EBBA2”). Mark Eaton, RSPB Principal Conservation Scientist and chair of the European Bird Census Council, explains why this book will be invaluable for supporting conservation across Europe for years to come.

    The first European breeding bird atlas was published in 1997, based on data collected in the…

    • 3 Dec 2020
  • The UK's Wild Bird Indicators 2019

    The official results for the Wild Bird Indicators have been released by Government today. Here, Mark Eaton, Principal Conservation Scientist, gives a breakdown on the results and what this means for conservation

    The new Wild Bird Indicators for the UK were published by Defra this morning, and can be found online here. Similar metrics have also been released for England, and can be found here. These indicators are official…

    • 26 Nov 2020
  • What has thirty years of conservation done for Scottish corncrakes?

    Today's blog is a long-read by Professor Rhys Green, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge on the conservation of corncrake in Scotland.

    The corncrake is an iconic bird for an unfortunate reason. It is one of the best-known examples of a bird species that was formerly widespread in Britain and Ireland, but rapidly disappeared from most areas and continued to decline in numbers quite quickly thereafter.


    • 19 Nov 2020
  • Land sparing, or land sharing? What works best for all to benefit?

    In the land sparing and sharing debate, the question is often how food and wildlife can find space around each other. In today’s blog Tom Finch, Senior Conservation Scientist, discusses his latest paper which considers other factors. This new research reviews what’s best for protecting against global warming, recreation and reducing pollution, whilst still growing food and protecting nature.

    We are placing…

    • 16 Nov 2020
  • Double win for prestigious awards

    Today’s blog is by Professor Jeremy Wilson, Director of Science, on last night’s awards ceremony, where five outstanding scientists and one outstanding communicator were presented with the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) annual Marsh Awards.

    Every year, the Marsh Christian Trust supports around 350 charities through the Grants Programme and gives around 80 different Awards to individuals and groups…

    • 29 Oct 2020
  • New Head of International Conservation Science announced

    Dr Graeme Buchanan will be taking up the role of Head of International Conservation Science.

    We are delighted to announce that Dr Graeme Buchanan will be taking up the role of Head of International Conservation Science, leading the exceptional conservation science team working to support RSPB and Birdlife International’s conservation work.

    Dr Graeme

    Graeme is well placed to take up this role, having worked for RSPB’s International…

    • 28 Oct 2020
  • Turtle Dove National Survey 2021

    The soft purr of the turtle dove has become an increasingly rare sound of summer. In today’s blog, Simon Wotton, Senior Conservation Scientist, explains why a national survey is needed for these birds and calls for volunteers

    As the fastest declining UK species, the turtle dove is one of the highest conservation priority species for the RSPB. Between 1995 and 2018, we lost 95% of our turtle doves, and with such…

    • 27 Oct 2020