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.




Birds of Prey

Wednesday 23rd January

Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust - 37 Stafford Road, S2 2SF Sheffield

Mike Price of the Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group will be talking about this group’s important work and the concerning decline of some of our best-loved birds of prey. We will also be sharing information about the Wildlife Trust’s plans to try and redress this.

Booking is essential. This event is free for members of Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust and £5 for non-members. For more information on joining the Trust, visit http://www.wildsheffield.com/join

Please arrive at 6.45pm for a 7pm start. For booking issues and enquiries please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wendy Birks

Indoor Meeting - Weds 13th February

Iceland - Land of birds, fire and water

Keith Clarkson


Keith Clarkson

“I am a passionate birder.  I was brought up in Sheffield with the Peak District as my playground. Here I got into birding and ringing at an early age, becoming an active member of the Sheffield Bird Study Group since its founding years.  I went to Sheffield University to study Zoology.  Whilst undertaking my PhD on the behavioural ecology of the Magpie, I was lucky enough to work on seabirds with Prof. Tim Birkhead in both the Canadian High and Low Arctic, Yellow-billed magpies in California and Zebra Finches in Australia before settling down to spend many years working for Sheffield City Museum and the Peak District National Park Authority where I was the Assistant National Park Officer. After which I achieved my lifelong ambition, of joining the RSPB, in the role of Public Affairs Manager for North West England.  Since when, my career has successfully spiralled downwards. 

Prior to my retirement in 2017 I was the Senior (old) Site Manager, responsible for the RSPB’s Bempton Cliffs and Coquet Island nature reserves - my dream job! Now having retired I am leading wildlife tours for Naturetrek to Iceland and Yorkshire and the Caribbean with ‘Birding the Islands’.

Throughout, I have been passionate about bird migration and have spent a lifetime studying visible migration both through the Southern Pennines and now on the East Coast of Yorkshire. I am an active member of the RSPB, BTO and both Flamborough and Filey Bird Observatories, but I keep my feet on the ground by following The Owls - Sheffield Wednesday!”


Situated on the edge of the Arctic Circle on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, where America meets Europe, Iceland’s turbulent geological history has created a stunning wilderness where wildlife still abounds.  In 2018 I was lucky enough to make three separate visits to Iceland, in March, June and July, a rare chance to cover large areas of the country at different stages in the breeding season.  This talk will introduce you to the wonderful birds, wildlife and landscapes of Iceland, capturing their arrival, breeding and the start of their departure to wintering grounds in the the UK and further south.  Areas featured include the Iceberg lake Jökusárlon, the glaciers of the southern ice caps, the famous ‘Golden Triangle, the remote Snaefellsnes Peninsula in the north-west and, of course, the Lake Myvatn area in the north. 

 PastedGraphic 5

Saturday 23 March 2019 

BTO Yorkshire Birdwatchers' Conference 2019

9.15am to 5pm, Ron Cooke Hub, University of York, Deramore Lane, York, YO10 5GE

You are invited to join us for this one-day BTO Regional Conference.  This is a popular event, so don’t leave it too late to book your place!

The programme includes talks from Tim Birkhead plus local speakers and staff from the BTO.  Tickets cost £25 and include coffee, tea and buffet lunch. The full programme and location details are available here

You can book your conference place either online, by post with a booking form or by phoning the Supporter Team (Mon-Fri) on 01842 750050. 
































SBSG 2019 Calendar now available


Please contact a committee member to reserve your copy as we have a limited edition of 50 available at the cost price of £6

The calendar will also be available at the December indoor meeting 



An account of the Birds of the Huddersfield District was written in 1915 by Huddersfield man Seth Lister Mosley and is one of the most important books in the history of local and national ornithology. However, it is very rare and little known outside specialist circles, but is full of interest for a present day public. Now Huddersfield Birdwatchers’ Club brings it to life again in digital form for the benefit of a modern day audience. And it is available to download free of charge here.

The HBC recording area starts at the SBSG's northern border, with Langsett Resr being shared between us, so this publication is of great interest to local ornithologists and gives a fascinating insight into bird population changes over the last century.



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

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”.



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.