• A new floating device which could help tackling seabird bycatch from gillnet fisheries

    Guest blog by Yann Rouxel, Bycatch Project Officer.

    After years of research and limited successes in finding a solution to the accidental catch of seabirds from gillnet fisheries, a new floating device might be part of the answer to this problem. A new paper hot off the press shows that our new device, called the Looming-Eyes Buoy (LEB), could reduce the abundance of a vulnerable species from diving near gillnets.

    It is…

    • 5 May 2021
  • Become a seabird scientist from your sofa

    Guest blog by Kirsty Franklin, PhD student at the University of East Anglia

    If lockdown restrictions have had you missing bustling colonies of seabirds, here is a chance to visit them – albeit remotely – while contributing to an exciting citizen science project called Seabird Watch.

    Seabird populations are in decline globally, owing to threats from fisheries, pollution, invasive predators, habitat destruction…

    • 29 Apr 2021
  • A new Marine and Terrestrial Biodiversity Indicator for Scotland

    Today (22nd April) sees the publication of a new Scottish Government marine and terrestrial biodiversity indicator. Mark Eaton, RSPB Principal Conservation Scientist explains how this indicator will help progress towards national biodiversity commitments (such as the National Outcome for the Environment, which is to ‘value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment’) to be measured.

    This is important – we…

    • 22 Apr 2021
  • Curlews in Crisis – emergency action to halt the decline of curlew

    By Samantha Lee, RSPB Senior Project Manager for Curlews in Crisis

    Today, April 21st, is World Curlew Day and this year amongst the curlew conversations and celebrations of this charismatic bird we’re launching our ambitious new project – Curlews in Crisis (aka Curlew LIFE).

    This is a £3.68 million project supported by the LIFE Programme of the European Union as well as in-country funding partners including…

    • 21 Apr 2021
  • Waterbirds in the UK 2019/20

    The 39th Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) for 2019/20 has been published, Simon Wotton, Senior Conservation Scientist, highlights the key findings from the report.

    WeBS is the principal scheme for monitoring the populations of the UK's wintering waterbirds, providing an important indicator of the status of waterbird populations and the health of wetlands.  The survey is run by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), in…

    • 20 Apr 2021
  • Become a citizen-scientist and help Durham University track UK garden songbirds

    Guest blog by Professor Stephen Wilis, Director of Research in the Department of Biosciences at Durham University

    From the melodic tune of the blackbird to the cheerful chirp of the house sparrow, bird song is all around us.

    Now, researchers from Durham University are inviting you to become a citizen-scientist and help them track the variety and distribution of garden birds by tuning into the songs.

    Can you help with…

    • 15 Apr 2021
  • A STAR is born

    An innovative paper led by Louise Mair from the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, and published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution, introduces a brand-new biodiversity metric designed to guide and steer global species recovery. The new metric, STAR (Species Threat Abatement and Restoration), quantifies the contributions that lowering species threats and restoring habitats in specific…

    • 8 Apr 2021
  • Drivers of songbird territory numbers in hedgerows at RSPB Hope Farm

    Guest blog by Megan Tresise, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, on her new paper with RSPB Hope Farm, and the Centre for Conservation Science.

    Using thirteen years of songbird territory and farm management records from RSPB Hope Farm, research has shown that hedgerow specialists had significantly greater territory densities in hedges adjacent to oilseed rape crop, but lower territory densities with tree…

    • 1 Apr 2021
  • Rodenticides may have contributed to the decline in kestrel numbers

    Guest blog by Staffan Roos (previously Senior Conservation Scientist at RSPB Scotland) and Jeremy Wilson (RSPB's Director of Science).

    A scientific paper, just published in the journal Ecotoxicology, written by scientists from the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture) shows that the…

    • 29 Mar 2021
  • Population changes of common European birds

    Today, the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS) network, comprising sixty-six European scientists, has published a landmark paper describing the methods, outputs and their use in research and conservation in Scientific Data. Professor Richard Gregory, RSPB Head of Species Monitoring and PECBMS project supervisor, explains.

    Alongside the paper, the database containing supra-national and national population…

    • 26 Mar 2021
  • ENACT - A new tool to evaluate how nature activities build people’s connection to nature

    Blog by Victoria Carr, Conservation Scientist 

    For guidance on using ENACT to evaluate the effectiveness of your nature activities, please contact Victoria.Carr@RSPB.org.uk 

    With spring on the horizon, and the hope of Covid restrictions easing, I am looking forward to a time when staff and volunteers across our reserves can restart their many and varied people engagement activities and events. But colleagues have always asked, which of…

    • 23 Mar 2021
  • Wikipedia page views reveal global changes in public biodiversity awareness

    Guest blog by Joe Millard, PhD student based at University College of London and the Zoological Society of London, in collaboration with the RSPB.

    A large body of research has shown that global biodiversity is undergoing rapid change, driven by a multitude of anthropogenic activities. But alleviating this change remains an ongoing challenge. Understanding the extent to which people recognise the value of biodiversity…

    • 17 Mar 2021
  • Oceanography and the migration ecology of roseate terns

    Guest blog by Professor Chris Redfern, Newcastle University, and Paul Morrison, RSPB Northumberland Coast Site Manager, discussing their new paper on oceanographic factors which are defining the migration ecology of one of Europe’s rarest breeding seabirds.

    Roseate terns have a special significance for seabird enthusiasts, being the rarest breeding seabird in Europe, with colonies in the Azores and in northwest…

    • 15 Mar 2021
  • Ongoing efforts to save the Liben lark

    Hear from Simon Wootton, Senior Conservation Scientist, on his latest paper about the Liben lark population. 

    Liben lark Heteromirafra archeri is a ‘Critically Endangered’ species threatened by the loss and degradation of grassland at the Liben Plain, southern Ethiopia, one of only two known sites for the species. With the support of SOS Sahel, IUCN Save Our Species, co-funded by the European Union, a project…

    • 11 Mar 2021
  • The economic consequences of conserving or restoring sites for nature

    Today’s blog is by Head of People Conservation Science, Richard Bradbury, on his latest paper discussing a toolkit for measuring and valuing the benefits of sites for nature and people.

    What is nature worth? If I think of an exquisite pasqueflower or a stirring starling murmuration, the answer is usually ‘priceless’, or ‘it cannot be valued’.  Of course, that is why parts of the world like…

    • 8 Mar 2021
  • 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