At present we are running the following BTO surveys in Surrey. Follow the links for more information on the methodology and how to get involved.

The surveys are carried out using 1 km grid squares (although some surveys use 2 km or 5 km square), Therefore the BTO Surrey area is not quite the same as the County of Surrey but, instead, is made up of sixteen 10 km squares as shown on the map below. Accordingly BTO Surrey does include small amounts of other counties such as West Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire and some of the London boroughs.

The BTO Surrey Region, 10km grid squares


The idea behind BirdTrack is that if you have been out birdwatching anywhere in Britain and Ireland, or simply watching birds in your garden, records of the birds you have seen (or indeed have not seen) can be useful data. Thus the scheme is year-round, and ongoing, and anyone with an interest in birds can contribute.

Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)

The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the main scheme for monitoring the population changes of the UK’s common breeding birds. The survey is designed to be a simple and enjoyable birdwatching exercise. Volunteers make just three visits to randomly selected 1-km squares, the first to record habitat and to set up a suitable survey route (although if a 1 km square has been surveyed in the past the route will already be set up and a map of the route provided) and the second and third (between April and June) to record all the birds that are seen or heard whilst walking along the route.

Breeding Waders of Wet Meadows

Taking place in Spring 2020 this is a repeat of the 2002 survey (although there are some additional sites). This survey is taking place in order to help monitor the long-term population changes of lowland breeding waders in England and Wales. There are 23 sites in Surrey.

Garden Birdwatch

Garden Birdwatch monitors the changing fortunes of birds and other garden wildlife through its network of ‘citizen scientists’. Observations collected by BTO Garden BirdWatchers are analysed by BTO researchers and published in leading journals. BTO Garden BirdWatchers have charted the decline of the House Sparrow, the rise of the Woodpigeon, have discovered that urban birds get up later than their rural counterparts and have alerted conservationists to the impact of an emerging disease in Greenfinches.


The BTO Heronries Census collects nest counts of herons from as many heronries as possible in the UK each year. The main species covered is Grey Heron but Little Egret is fully included, as are rarer species of colonial herons such as Cattle Egrets (which nested in the UK for the first time in 2008). Nest counts of Cormorants are also collected, especially where they are nesting alongside herons.

Nesting Birds

The Nest Record Scheme (NRS) gathers vital information on the breeding success of Britain’s birds by asking volunteers to find and follow the progress of individual nests. The data collected are used to produce trends in breeding performance, which helps the BTO to identify species that may be declining because of problems at the nesting stage. These trends are updated every year. NRS data also allows the BTO to measure the impacts of pressures such as climate change on bird productivity. If you go here you can get more information on research using NRS data.

Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS)

The Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS) is an annual survey of breeding birds along rivers and canals. It is a transect survey with many similarities to the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). Volunteers walk a stretch of waterway (from just 500 metres to a maximum of 5 km) making a note of all of the birds seen and heard.

Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS)

The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) is the scheme which monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. The principal aims of WeBS are to identify population sizes, determine trends in numbers and distribution and identify important sites for waterbirds.


In 2013 the Woodcock survey estimated a population of 55,241 males, representing a decline of 29% since the 2003 survey which estimated a breeding population of 78,000 males in Britain. Due to this substantial decline the BTO and GWCT agreed to continue annual breeding season counts. These counts are crucial for monitoring future changes to the breeding population.