Survey work

The SBSG was formed in 1972 during the fieldwork for the first BTO breeding atlas project with the aim of coordinating such fieldwork and establishing a local recording system. That recording system is still going strong with our ever expanding records database, and the group continues to promote, organise and coordinate fieldwork for a variety of surveys across the recording area. This remains one of the key areas of the group's work as, while the collation of records from birders provides a tremendous insight into the general trends of populations, migration and vagrancy, especially at well-watched local patches, more detailed information for particular sites or species can often only be gained through the instigation of specific survey work. We are always looking for group members to get involved with our survey work; requests for participation in specific surveys are made at indoor meetings, through the Bulletin and on this website. Participation in such work is a hugely rewarding way to enhance your local birding and contribute to the main purpose of the group - the continued study of our region's birdlife.

The variety of surveys that SBSG members are encouraged to take part in fall into several categories:

SBSG surveys

The first Sheffield Breeding Atlas project provided a comprehensive baseline for the distribution and abundance of breeding species across the Sheffield area and a quarter of a century on it was felt it was time to repeat the project to chart the changes that have occurred to our wild bird populations during that time. After a further five years the fieldwork for the new Sheffield Breeding Atlas has been completed. The thousands of records received over that period have been collated and we are now in the late stages of putting together the species accounts. 

In addition the group periodically runs smaller scale surveys concentrating on particular sites, habitats or species. In the past these have included surveys of rookeries, magpies and the north eastern moors, amongst many others.

Such surveys, from small scale or single species projects to something with the grand sweep of the Breeding Atlas, would be impossible without the hours of fieldwork put in by group members.

Visible migration

The ongoing recording of the phenomenon of visible migration from watch points in the Sheffield area continues to provide a valuable insight in bird movements on a local and national scale. To get involved and for more information click here.

Swift Survey 2014-15

The Group is repeating a Swift survey carried out in 1979, focusing on SK38. For details of how to record breeding Swifts and submit details to the website, see the PP here

BTO surveys

The BTO conducts an array of surveys, including the Wetland Birds Survey and Breeding Birds Survey, and all SBSG members are encouraged to get involved.  For more information see here.  

Commissioned surveys

We are sometimes approached by organisations that require bird surveys conducted on their land, often for conservation purposes. These are generally carried out on behalf of the group by our members and the proceeds are shared between the member(s) and the group. In recent years we have undertaken large scale surveys on behalf the National Trust, Severn Trent Water and the Forestry Commission, as well as smaller one-off surveys at a variety of sites throughout the area. These vary from one-off surveys involving a handful of visits to studies spanning a whole breeding season or year to long term monitoring of populations trends over a number of years.

Being able to tap into the wealth of knowledge of our membership allows us to offer unparalleled insight into local bird populations and expert fieldworkers to conduct accurate, reliable surveys. Such work ranges from single species studies to large scale baseline surveys covering large areas to provide a comprehensive snapshot of current bird populations against which future changes can be measured. This work continues to be an important source of funds for the group, generating resources that allow us to undertake our own projects, such as the publication of the annual reports and the forthcoming Sheffield Breeding Atlas.

For more information on commissioning the SBSG to carry out a bird survey see here

Database reports

Our ever growing database of records is the group's most valuable resource, the product of countless hours' observation by group members over the past 15 years. It is an unparalleled record of the distribution and changing fortunes of the area's birds over that period. We are regularly approached by other organisations with requests for use of this data, usually ecological consultancies conducting studies into a specific area's birdlife, where such datasets provide a historical perspective to complement or provide a much cheaper and more immediate alternative to a field survey.

For more information on requesting a search of our database see here