Welcome to the SBSG website

Sheffield Bird Study Group was formed in December 1972 as a forum for birdwatchers in and around the city with an active interest in ornithology. The group's recording area, covering twelve 10km squares with the city roughly in the middle, is hugely diverse, stretching north to the outskirts of Barnsley, south to Chesterfield, east to the lowlands beyond Rotherham and Bolsover, and west to the highest tops of the Peak District National Park.

We aim to promote an interest in birds in the community, provide something of interest to all levels of birder, co-ordinate fieldwork and recording in the area, and work with and complement the work of like-minded local and national organisations for the benefit of birds. SBSG is registered charity No 510857. Click here for more.



Indoor Meeting

Tim Birkhead – The Sex Life of Birds

Weds 10th October - 7.15pm

IMG 1279

Naturalist, zoologist and author Tim Birkhead will be presenting the Sex Life of Birds at the SBSG’s October Indoor meeting. 


Bird lovers

The mating behavior of birds was once forbidden territory: it was the one aspect of ornithology no one wanted to write about. Darwin discussed the pollination and fertilization of plants with impunity, but avoided doing the same with animals. The late 1960s saw the so-called sexual revolution, when traditional codes of behavior were overthrown, both by normal people but also by zoologists as well. This coincided with the birth of a new and exciting area of zoology known as behavioural ecology – that revolutionized our understanding of bird mating behavior. Behavioural ecology (or ‘selfish-gene thinking), allowed ornithologists, like myself, to make sense of some if the most curious anatomy and behaviours of birds that had puzzled — and embarrassed — previous generations of bird lovers.

Sheffield University Hicks Building, Lecture Theatre 5 and the meeting will commence at 7.15pm


John Mead will give a presentation on the outcome of the 2018 Ring Ouzel monitoring project.

Filey Bird Observatory's 3rd annual "Migration and Ringing Festival”

Saturday 13th - Sunday 21st October


Following on from Mark J Pearson’s talks to SBSG in 2018 & 2017, Filey Bird Observatory are holding their 3rd annual "Migration and Ringing Festival” from Saturday 13th - Sunday 21st October.  All events are free and SBSG members are encouraged to attend.  There will be events running every day including Ringing (daily public sessions at the top of Filey Country Park from dawn) and guided walks around Filey and Flamborough looking for migrants in known local hotspots.  

The programme of talks has been released (including Keith Clarkson on his VisMig activities) with details of other activities to be released on the website in the coming weeks.  The festival is timed to coincide with large scale arrivals of Scandinavian birds off the North Sea (including Redwings, Goldcrests, Fieldfares, Blackbirds, Woodcock, Short Eared Owls etc) and last year gave the opportunity to compare Common and Lesser Redpoll in the hand and the capture of one migrant which had been ringed on the Norwegian coast only 15 hours earlier!  Keep you eye on the FBOG website and let the Filey team know you are from SBSG if you attend. See here for a list of events.













































































Atlas of Breeding Birds in the Barnsley Area 2006-2011 

The book will be officially launched at RSPB Old Moor on Sunday 30th September 2018

1 1 Atlas 1 A Publication Promotion

Birds in the Sheffield Area, 2016 - Annual Report  

The 2016 Annual Report -

Members’ copies of the 2016 edition have now either been delivered or put in the post.  If anyone has not received theirs by Friday 24 August, would they please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Non-members may purchase copies for £6 (£8 to include p&p) using the same route.

 LEO 2016


Editors: Richard Hill and David Wood

Birds in the Sheffield Area, 2016 was published in July 2018, with help of the major sponsors The National Trust, Foothills and Harrison Cameras.

The cover of a Long-eared Owl was created by Ben Green, and the text is interleaved with illustrations by Ben Green, Richard Dale, Paul Leonard and Ray Scally. The photographs are courtesy of P. Brown, A. Deighton, P. Garrity, R.D. Hill, A. Jones, M.N. Reeder, M. Smethurst, C. Tyler and D. Wood. It has a total of 207 pages.
This edition is dedicated to the memory of Andy Roadhouse 1965-2017

Main Contents

  • A review of the birding year, 2016
  • Systematic List of records for the year 2016
  • Arrival and departure dates of migrant species in 2016
  • Ring Ouzels of the Eastern Edges
  • Freebird 2016
  • New colour map of the SBSG recording area
  • The cost is £6 if collected, or £8 to include postage and packing. It's free to qualifying members.
  • Anyone interested in obtaining a copy of this, or any other of our annual reports, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further details

St George’s Peregrines a Ringing Success


On Friday 18th May, an experienced team of ringers, working under a schedule 1 license, climbed St George's church tower to ring the chicks.  The timing of the ringing was a very close match to previous years in terms of age of the chicks, and carefully chosen to be within the fairly narrow window available to do so safely.

Needless to say, the female - which had been feeding the chicks shortly before - kept a close eye on proceedings, circling the tower. Read the full report here.

The Ascent of Birds

IMG 0364

Congratulations to John Reilly, the SBSG’s newest author of ornithological and evolutionary biology books

John R mugshot

John has published over 200 peer reviewed articles in his medical career, published two books on Spitzbergen and now has turned his talent to publishing a great book for bird enthusiasts

After several years of hard research, travelling the world in search of rare and bizarre birds with stories to be told, John has finally completed his book ‘The Ascent of Birds ‘

It comes with top class plaudits form the likes of Peter and Rosemary Grant who consider it the best of its kind and Mark Avery who regards it as the most important and impressive book published so far by Pelagic Publishing.

Its very readable and comes in the form of self-contained chapters or stories that encompass the evolution of bird from over 100 million years ago to the present day.

Find out why parrots ended up in Australia and South America with just a few species in Africa.

Why do we travel to so many parts of the world to see different birds?

You can buy it from Amazon for £25 and get John to sign a copy at one of our indoor meetings later in the year.

Check out Pelagic Publishings You Tube advert for The Ascent of Birds, its brilliant.

IMG 0373

 Neil Porter

Sand Martin Survey

34554036011 4d7812b43c o

Following on from the good work on the installation of two Sand Martin nest banks on the River Don (see item by Bob Croxton), we are undertaking a survey of Sand Martins on the Don through Sheffield to Rotherham.  This is a species that has colonised the Don in recent years as water quality has improved, but we do not have a clear idea of population levels and numbers of breeding pairs.  The flood prevention work that has deprived the birds of a number of breeding sites has brought home the need to have a better understanding of their breeding status.  With 14 sectors of the Don to survey, and opportunities to be mentored, we hope for a good take-up to improve our knowledge of this species and feed into measures to ensure their ongoing breeding success. To take part, access the survey form in PDF here or the downloadable Word version here and follow the instructions.

State of the World's Birds - Birdlife International


State of the World’s Birds is BirdLife’s flagship science publication, providing a global overview of the state of birds, the pressures they face and the actions underway to save them. Although the report provides a sobering update on the state of birds and biodiversity, and of the challenges ahead, it also clearly demonstrates that solutions do exist and that significant, lasting success can be achieved.

The report can be found here.



Sand Martin Nest Banks on the River Don

Read about the installation of two Sand Martin nest banks on the River Don at Kelham Island and Carbrook here (Sheffield Telegraph Fri 13th April).
It is early days, but it is hoped that the newly returned Sand Martins will take to the nesting banks, and it is hoped nest cameras can be installed.
The banks can be viewed from Ball Street Bridge near Kelham Island (SK350883) and the 5 Weirs Walk at Carbrook (SK387902).


Breeding Wader Surveys in the South West Peak District:

Volunteers required

SBSG member Leah Kelly is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield, working in association with the South West Peak Landscape Partnership (www.southwestpeak.co.uk). Her research involves investigating the declines of upland waders, focusing on the conservation needs and management for curlew, snipe and lapwing. The work would involve surveying specific focal fields and the immediately adjacent fields by walking to within 100 m of every part of each field. Surveys need to be conducted from two hours post-sunrise to 12:00 and from 15:00 to two hours pre-sunset. The majority of assistance would be required from 1st April to 15th May 2018. Any surveys would have to be done on a voluntary basis; although, we would be able to pay for mileage (26p per mile).
If you are interested, please contact Leah ASAP via e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Help Sheffield University and SBSG support the Sheffield Peregrines

With your help we can provide more opportunities for people to learn more about these amazing birds as well as carry out important research. You can support the Sheffield Peregrines Project by donating through the Virgin Money Giving page.

Click on this link to learn more about the plans for the project and to donate:


 EU General Data Protection Regulation

As you may know, the EU General Data Protection Regulation comes into force on May 25th.  To ensure that SBSG conforms to this regulation, we have reviewed the ways in which the Group holds personal data in connection with our membership, and have agreed a data protection policy.  If you have concerns about the data that SBSG holds in relation to your membership, or the ways in which that is held and managed, please contact the membership secretary, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In particular we identified the holding of your telephone number as desirable but not necessary.  If you would like it to be deleted from your record, please contact Martin. We will assume that if you do not contact Martin on this front you are happy for your details to be held by the Group and used to manage your membership in the ways outlined in the policy.' Details of our policy can be found at the top of the page.

Appeal for legal challenge on behalf of Hen Harriers

An appeal from Mark Avery to raise funds for a judicial review with full details here.

“Instead of tackling the key issue of criminality, Michael Gove's Department for the Environment (DEFRA) has proposed something called 'brood management' which involves removing chicks from nests near grouse moors. That might help grouse moor owners but it won't help Hen Harriers”.

Sorby Proceedings

arthurwhittaker small

Arthur Whitaker (1882 - 1949) - Sorby Natural History Society

In 1929, the then-named Sorby Scientific Society published its first journal, entitled Proceedings Volume 1. The journal contains interesting papers on a wide variety of subjects. Of particular note is Arthur Whitaker’s paper “Notes on the Birds of the Sheffield District”, this being one of the first times that local bird observations had been published. Although widely referred to subsequently the following paper by Charles Wells detailing the record of a White-tailed Eagle in Derwent Dale makes for interesting reading.

Link to the proceedings which were scanned by Bob Croxton can be found here


Good news for younger members

Free membership is now available for persons under the age of 25.  The age limit was previously 22.  And it’s available regardless of whether you’re in full time education or not.  Existing members should by now have received revised membership certificates from Martin Hodgson, the Membership Secretary.  If you haven’t but you think you ought to have, or if you are a paying member who now qualifies for free membership, please contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Submitting your records

If you have submitted records recently you may have noticed that the calendar facility, when adding the date to your record, is no longer available. This has occurred following a software update, though should not affect users too adversely providing that they add the date in the specified format as shown below.