The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is a research charity that works towards the wider understanding, study, appreciation and conservation of birds. In order to do this we run large-scale bird surveys, with over 40,000 volunteer birdwatchers participating through weekly counts of garden birds, monthly winter counts of waterbirds, finding and monitoring birds’ nests, and much more!
The BTO was founded in 1933, and many of our surveys have been running for decades. This long-term data, collected by volunteers, is an incredibly valuable tool for understanding what is happening to our birds and wildlife. Our professional research scientists work with these records to work out what is causing changes in our bird populations, and to inform the public and decision-makers. Our impartiality means that our bird records and research findings are trusted by government and also by NGO campaigners.
Our work at the BTO is funded by membership, donations, government funding via the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), and consultancy work for the private and public sector. The combination of professional ecologists, long-term datasets, and a national network of volunteers, gives the BTO a unique, impartial and knowledgeable voice in nature conservation.