Red Grouse © Harry Scott

Atlases occupy a key ‘niche’ in bird surveying in Britain. Many surveys go so far as estimate the numbers of birds of a particular species, but cannot provide information on their distribution across the country. It therefore falls to atlases to provide data on the distribution of birds across the UK.

Many of the SOC branches and individual members carry out surveys of species of interest from Bean Goose to Common Buzzard, Black Guillemot, Corn Bunting, urban Oystercatchers and wintering Twite, all providing local information on population trends and changes. The most organised of these has been the collection of data for a number of local atlases, providing information at a more detailed level, often down to tetrads (2km-squares) rather than 10-km squares of national atlases. These include atlases of the breeding birds of North- East Scotland, Lothian and Borders and Fife.

BB-NEastThe Breeding Birds of North-East Scotland Atlas

fifeThe Fife Bird Atlas

BB-SEastThe Breeding Birds of South-east Scotland – A Tetrad Atlas


Coming Autumn 2013… The BTO/SOC/BirdWatch Ireland Bird Atlas 2007-2011

Click here for a sneak preview!

The BTO/SOC/BirdWatch Ireland Bird Atlas 2007-11 has seen thousands of volunteer birdwatchers across Scotland visit every one of the 10-km survey squares, resulting in over 22,000 formal survey visits and contributing a further 600,000 roving bird records to the project.

This most comprehensive stocktake of Scotland’s breeding and wintering birds ever has shown some fascinating changes. In the twenty years since the last Atlas, Scotland has been invaded from the south by breeding birds such as the Nuthatch, seen colonisation of the far north by several others and suffered a range of losses such as breeding waders. Winter comparisons, looking 35 years back, hint at the positive effects of warmer conditions, earlier springs and garden feeding. Each of more than 250 species has its own interesting story, and the patterns of change across groups of birds and geographical areas will be critical in our understanding of the impacts of environmental change now and in the future.

Visit the BTO Atlas page for a special pre-publication offer!