EU-wide monitoring methods and systems of surveillance for species and habitats of Community interest
A research project funded by the European Union 
Participatory Monitoring Networks in Europe

1. Name of Organisation:
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
1a. Your e-mail:
2. Organisation address:
The Nunnery Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU
2a. Country:  
United Kingdom
3. What geographical area does your organisation cover?
An area within a country
A country UK 
Other countries
4. When did your organisation start?
5. How many paid staff are in your organisation?
6a. Can members of the public (ordinary people) join your organisation?
6b. If Yes, how many members of the public (ordinary people) currently belong to your organisation?
More than 1000: 12800
6c. Do members of the public who have joined your organisation pay a membership fee?
6d. If some members do not have to pay a fee, please explain why
7a. What aspects of biodiversity your organisation monitors?
Insects Amphibians Fish Birds Mammals Plants Reptiles
Habitats All habitats within Britain
Other Mammals, Amphibians and insects can be counted, in addition to birds on a few surveys. Almost all annual/periodic surveys are focussed on birds. many surveys include basic habitat recording
7b. Please provide a brief description of your organisation's biodiversity monitoring activities.
The BTO undertakes a range of bird monitoring every year, including approximately ten different long-term surveys (carried out throughout the year) and approximately 10-15 other short-term surveys focused on particular conservation or ecological issues. These include full surveys and bird atalses aiming to cover the entire country, as well as sample surveys, with sites selected through rigorous sampling designs, or in some cases selcted by observers.
8. How long has your organisation carried out biodiversity monitoring activities?
9. Are any of your organisation's monitoring activities carried out in collaboration with another organisation/s?
10. If Yes, please give the name(s) of the organisation(s)
Royal Soceity for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Joint Nature Conservancy Committee (EN, SNH, EHS &CCW) Game Conservancy Trust
11. Do you supply or pass on your monitoring data to other organisations?
12. If Yes, please give the name of the organisation(s)
Government Departments (if under contract to do so) National Biodiversity Network (generaly summarised datasets) Bird Clubs and Local Record Centres (local datasets) Academic and students (partial and under strict agreements for use) Consultants (costed)
13. Are your monitoring data published in a regular report?
14. Are the report(s) available on the internet?
14b. Internet address of report(s):
15. Do volunteers contribute to your organisation's monitoring activities?
16. Do volunteers have to be members?
17. Please estimate the proportion of your organisation's biodiversity monitoring data that is provided by:
(a) Your organisation's staff 5 % 
(b) Volunteers who are members 50 % 
(c) Volunteers who are not members 45 % 
TOTAL 100 % 
18. How long has your organisation used volunteers to assist with monitoring activities?
19. What biodiversity monitoring information does your organisation ask volunteers to collect? Please list this information:
Counts or presence/absence of birds (ranging from surveys of single species to surveys including all species) on sites identfied in the sampling design, within the breeding season, during migration, and during winter. Visits to reocrd birds can be carried out weekly, monthly, twice per breeding season, annually or periodically (every 12,20, etc. years) depending on the survey. More specialised schemes record age, sex, weight, biometrics, condition, and breeding parameters. In some surveys participants also record basic habitat details and occasionally other taxa (e.g. mammals)
20. Does your organisation have enough volunteers for its biodiversity monitoring?
21. If no, please explain why
The BTO takes a long-term veiw to volunteers management and attempts to balance its requirement for volunteers in its biodiversity monitoring work and the availability and goodwill of its volunteer network
22. What do you think motivates people to contribute to your organisation's biodiversity monitoring schemes (e.g. hands-on experience)? Please list:
1. interest in bird conservation 2. enjoyment of birdwatching, ringing, or nest-recording 3. seeing their data used for a purpose e.g. in national trends
23. What methods does your organisation use to recruit volunteers?
Articles (newspapers, magazines etc.) Advertisements in newspapers, magazines etc.
Internet/e-mail Invitations sent through the post
Word of mouth Open days, workshops, activity days
Radio/T.V. Other
Club meetings (e.g. bird clubs)
24. Do volunteers receive any financial support (i.e. expense payments)?
25. What proportion of volunteers have formal environmental training? (e. g. field courses, university degree in biology, ecology etc.)
26a. Does your organisation provide any training for volunteers?
26b. If Yes, please describe what training is given to volunteers.
Training courses (1-2 days) on bird identification and bird survey techniques are offered but not required. Most long-term core volunteers would be considered expert birders, and seldom attend courses.
27a. Does your organisation validate the data received from volunteers?
27b. If yes, how are the data validated?
Varies considerably across surveys. Volunteers are recruited on the basis of their perceived expertise for the survey required. data received from volunteers is examined by survey organisers (staff) and regional organisers (volunteers). Once captured by inputting online submissions, validation programmes detect unusual, or impossible records. these records may be queried by contact with the volunteer, tagged and filtered out for analyses, or deleted (seldom). Nevertheless, ground-truthing of plausible records is clearly impossible, and there will inevitably be some noise due to counting/identification errors within the datasets.
28. Does your organisation provide feedback to volunteers who contribute to your organisations monitoring activities?
Additional comments:
Apart from almost 13,000 members, the BTO draws on the support of its supporters in other catagories, such as those that volunteers for the various survey schemes. The largest citizen science scheme is Garden birdwatch, with about 16,000 paying contributors (there is an annual joiningfee), most fo whom also provide weekly data on birds in their garden. these contributors are not necessarily BTO members.

 Contract number: 006463