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 Meetings & Field Trips

Coronavirus Update

Dear Members,

Well believe it or not, it is now 76 long days since the Prime Minister belatedly announced the unprecedented sacrifice required by the British public in order to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.  Whatever your views on the timing and politics of the recent lockdown, there is no doubt that the last few months have been a challenging experience. For some of our members, this has been particularly tough – both physically and mentally. 

One thing we can all agree on though, is how the magic of the natural world, in whatever form it takes, has provided a welcome respite from the grim reality of the situation we have all found ourselves in.  For many of us with an ornithological slant this may have taken a number of different forms – from a well-earned garden tick gleaned from the many hours spent staring out of an upstairs window (an overdue Red Kite and an unexpected Mandarin in my case), to a surprise discovery during some permitted exercise, or perhaps simply enjoying the many avian visitors to your garden or bird table.  Either way, I’d like to thank you for continuing to submit your records to the Group’s database throughout this difficult time – to paraphrase a famous birding quote ‘What’s submitted is history, what’s left unrecorded is mystery’ 

One obvious consequence of Covid-19 has been the necessary suspension of both our indoor meeting programme and popular local field trips.  Whilst at the time, this was done with a heavy heart, the potential spread of the virus from large gatherings has now been clearly established and the safety of both you and your family will remain our primary concern when reviewing our forthcoming events.  With this in mind, and in the anticipation of further disruption until the year-end, the SBSG Committee has made the decision to provide a continuation of your membership during 2021 for no additional charge.  This includes those who have not yet paid for your 2020 membership. Since the lockdown, we have been proactive in securing the services of any cancelled speakers for the corresponding dates next year and this will continue where possible, should any of the remaining indoor meetings suffer the same fate. Please keep updated by viewing the Group’s website at sbsg.org or looking out for our forthcoming e-newsletters.

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Cotton-grass contemplation – Blacka Moor | Richard Hill

“I find much satisfaction in the thought that this splendid piece of natural open countryside, which affords views of moorland scenery unsurpassed in grandeur by any other spot in the neighbourhood of Sheffield, will be kept in its present state, being protected from the encroachment of builders and remaining accessible to all to provide recreation and enjoyment for the benefit of succeeding generations of local people.” J. G. Graves (1866 – 1945)

During this enforced hiatus, the SBSG Committee has continued to keep in touch remotely behind the scenes in planning for the Group’s future.  With record membership numbers and a strong level of financial security, there is much to be hopeful about, even if it may not seem like it right now.  More details on some of the exciting future projects we have planned will be provided in the near future. 

In the meantime, please continue to take care, stay safe, keep birding and stay alert (for a local Rose-coloured Starling, if nothing else – there’s got to be one out there somewhere!). 

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Lest we forget….Rose-coloured Starling Pastor roseus – Curbar – May 2009 | J Lester

With best birding wishes,

Richard Hill


Sheffield Bird Study Group – 7 June 2020

















November Newsletter now issued

Members please check your inbox / trash / junk mail to ensure you have received it!

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Stanage Forum Steering Group - welcome to our 2020 update here


Please see below a letter from the Fair Isle Bird Obsevatory Trust regarding an appeal to support the rebuilding of the Observatory. For information or to donate please visit http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk 



The Northumbrian Garden Parrot - Pete Brown


Pete has been a birder in the Sheffield area for over 40 years and an active and involved member of the SBSG for much of that time. The Northumbrian Garden Parrot draws considerably from that experience but reflects also on his affection for bird watching in his native North East as well as further afield. There is both serious content particularly in the field of conservation issues locally and nationally as well as a lighter look at birding and birders. The narrative ranges from efforts to combat raptor persecution in the Peak District to referencing the Monty Python dead parrot sketch, Fawlty Towers and the Muppet Show’s Swedish chef in his birding encounters. 

There are many references to Sheffield Bird Study Group and indeed around 20 members of the group past and present merit appreciative mentions in the text. Frequently  the narrative returns to Pete’s local Millhouses Park and Ecclesall Woods patch. And as befits his affection for the patch all profits from the sale of The Northumbrian Garden Parrot will go towards efforts by The Friends of Millhouses Park to raise the £25,000 needed to provide a new kiddies climbing frame in the Park. 

Pete is selling the book for £10 a copy ( a bargain at 350 pages he claims). If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy, Pete, in his new career as a door to door book seller, is happy to deliver anywhere in the SBSG area.  

You can contact Pete by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text/call on 07789 441294

Helping Hen Harriers

Wild Justice (Mark Avery, Ruth Tingay and Chris Packham), the RSPB and Hen Harrier Action have joined forces to create an e-action, which enables you to have a pre-written email sent to your local MP/MSP urging that they take action to end the illegal killing of Hen Harriers and other birds of prey, which disproportionately takes place on the UK’s driven grouse moors.

It only takes a few seconds to do, and you can opt in/out to receive updates from Wild Justice and/or Hen Harrier Action.

The e-action closes on 31st August, and it is hoped to get the number of participants to 100,000 by then.


Remembering Phil Ridsdale - Saturday 12th September 5pm

A new memorial seating bench has been installed in the garden of Spurn Bird Observatory (SBO) dedicated to Phil Ridsdale who sadly passed away earlier this year.  Phil was an active SBSG member, a ringer with Sorby Breck Ringing Group and a familiar face around the Spurn Bird Observatory.  A socially distanced gathering will be held around the bench in the SBO garden on Saturday 12th September to raise a glass to Phil and his memory.  The event has been organised by Phil’s many friends at Spurn and will also be attended by his brother.  SBSG members and any Sheffield Birders and Ringers who knew him are cordially invited to attend also if they wish to pay tribute to Phil.  The weekend of the 12th has been chosen as it would have been the annual Spurn MigFest (cancelled due to Covid-19) in which Phil has been a active participant in previous years.  The bench has been built by Graham Speight and overlooks the Orchard - ideal for thrush spotting during autumn migration as birds head inland.  The dedication on the bench can be seen in the photo below.  SBSG would like to place on record our appreciation to Graham and SBO members and staff for this thoughtful and poignant memorial to Phil.
SBSG members wishing to attend can coordinate via Twitter tagging @shefbirdstudy @spurnbirdobs and/or @jonnie_fisk - lift sharing is not encouraged currently unless government advise changes in the meantime.
Birders at Spurn are hoping to organise a sponsored walk in 2021 from Patrington to Kilnsea in honour of Phil and SBSG will post details of how to get involved in this event as and when the plans develop.

 BTO Garden Birdwatch now free to join


For more information see here.

Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust - Request for help

As part of the SLLP project, we are doing some work with Yorkshire Water at Brooks Bank farmland just to the east of Midhope Reservoir, one of the projects is to re-wet the field located at the corner where Gill Royd Land meets Mortimer Road (SK234985) to make it more suitable for waders. 

A request for birders in that area that would be willing to do a semi-regular check for waders in that field. It would be very useful to be able to look at numbers before the works take place and compare them to numbers afterwards. 

Please contact Julie Riley.

Julie Riley

Community Ecologist - Sheffield Lakeland Landscape Partnership

Wildscapes/Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust
37 Stafford Road, Sheffield S2 2SF
Tel: 0114 303 5123

Birds of the Sheffield Area 2017 

The 2017 edition of our annual report has now been published and has been distributed to everyone who was a paying member in 2018.  Under 25 members will have received a PDF version.  Non-members can obtain a copy by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Price £6 plus £2 p&p. 

2017 Report


2019 Ring Ouzel survey report

The results of the 2019 Eastern Moors and Burbage Ring Ouzel survey season can be found here, with thanks to Kim Leyland.


Meet Richard Hill our new SBSG Chairman 

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Richard has identified key objectives that he hopes we can achieve -

  • streamline the running of the Group;
  • increase our membership, particularly among young people through education and engagement;
  • form closer links with local & regional groups;
  • expand our recording effort through new technology.

Read Richard's full chair's statement here


Cost-free fundraising for SBSG when you shop online

For details of how to raise money for SBSG, whenever you shop onlne, please see here for details.


Colour-ringed Willow Tits 

During May 7 juvenile Willow Tits were ringed at Totley. Observers are asked to report all sightings of these colour-ringed birds. Each bird has a unique combination with a yellow ring over another coloured ring that is either blue, yellow, red, orange, black, light green or white, as shown in the example below.

CR Willow Tit WEB


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.

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: