Mapping the distribution of bird species is a valuable conservation tool and, if such atlases are repeated, they provide quantitative information on range expansions and contractions. National mapping can only be achieved on a 10x10-km grid basis, but local data can be collected on a 2x2-km grid (tetrad) providing much detailed information.

In south-east Scotland (Lothian and Borders combined), breeding atlases were produced in 1968-72 (10-km grid) and 1988-94 (2-km grid); with a winter atlas in 1981/82-83/84 (10-km grid). During 2007-11, in conjunction with a national 10-km atlas, local birdwatchers are collecting data for a local tetrad atlas in both winter and the breeding season. To complete coverage, our local atlas will continue until 31 July 2012 - a couple of years beyond the national atlas.

There are 1,770 tetrads (or part tetrads) in Lothan and Borders (including intertidal ones for winter maps) and in 1988-94 189 species were recorded, 160 of these were probable or confirmed breeders. In winter a list of over 200 species is anticipated.


All local and visiting birdwatchers are invited to take part in this important project. You can either take on a tetrad, complete TTVs and try and get the best data for that tetrad, or alternatively, you can submit all your casual bird sightings as 'roving records'. Help in the remoter parts of the area would be especially welcomed.

If you want to take part, please contact:


Documents pertinent to our local winter and breeding atlases are available. Also broad habitats mapped from Land Cover Map 2000 and news updates. Spring 2011 newsletter now available.


Are you having problems finding which tetrad you saw your birds in? Here are some suggestions.


Data from the first years of the 2007-11 atlas have now been uploaded in order to show data coverage and preliminary results. Provisional winter and breeding species lists for each tetrad are also available.


Our South-east Scotland atlas is being organised in conjunction with the BTO/IWC/SOC national atlas. A standard methodology is used and although the national atlas is complete, you still have the option of submitting your data on-line via their website (click the logo below):


Hertfordshire Bird Atlas
Google Maps - good for aerial photos of some areas (e.g. parts of Edinburgh and Midlothian)
Google Earth - a free download of their desktop application
Google: GB & Ireland Grid-Lines Layer - a Google overlay of 1-km grid squares
Live Maps - good for aerial photos of other areas (e.g. parts of East Lothian and eastern Borders)
Ordnance Survey Get-a-Map
MAGIC - can view 1:10,000 maps here


Geograph has photos of every grid square in the UK. Click here for SE Scotland photos by tetrad. Note that these are organised by 1-km squares, and the link takes you to the north-eastern 1-km square of each tetrad. Why not add your own photo?


Special offer
The results of the area's first tetrad atlas were published in book form in 1998. "The Breeding Birds of South-east Scotland - A Tetrad Atlas" represents the work of many volunteers who collected some 92,000 records of 189 species.

Each species has a double page spread giving a detailed description, distribution map, maps comparing the 1968-72 and 1988-94 distribution, and distribution graphs on factors such as altitude and habitat. It provides a vital baseline against which all future atlases will be compared. The maps (but not the text) can be viewed on this website.

As a special offer via this website the book is available for £15, which includes UK p&p.

Cheques should be made payable to 'The South-east Scotland Breeding Bird Atlas' and should be sent to SOC HQ Aberlady.


A database of half a million records submitted by many observers forms the basis for the Lothian (1991-2006) and Borders (2000-06) Bird Reports. Where tetrad information has been assigned, these have been converted into maps.