The 2019 Breeding Bird Survey report has been online for some time (which is very good – things are speeding up) and my paper copy arrived a while ago but I have now read most of what I am ever going to read in it. It’s a very good report – the 25th report covering the 26th year of an amazing UK-wide bird monitoring scheme.
It would be possible for young people, or forgetful people, to take the BBS for granted because it is now part of the scenery, but it remains a remarkable thing, and one to be cherished. I played a small part in getting the BBS off the ground (see Fighting for Birds pp58-59). Note that it is the BTO/JNCC/RSPB BBS because it is a partnership enterprise.
The strengths of the BBS are partly in its design (randomised sites and standardised, tested methods) and partly in its cheap, expert workforce (mostly volunteer birders like myself putting in considerable time and expertise not just in collecting the data but entering it online too). In 2019 there were 4005 squares covered (including ‘my’ two).
But it is in the nature of monitoring that one carries out the surveillance in case something very good, or something very bad happens – and sometimes nothing much happens. And so preparing a report on a year in which nothing much changed must be a bit of a strain on the BTO staff, I guess mainly Sarah Harris, the National Organiser.
I am going to come back to several of the articles in this report over the next few days, because they are interesting, but I’d just like to say this year’s report is superb. If there were a prize for annual reports then this year’s BBS report ought to be up there in the shortlist.