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.

Wednesday December 8th  - 7.30pm

SBSG - Zoom Meeting (meeting link will follow)

Sarah Harris

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Chasing skuas: BTO Arctic Skua tagging.

Sarah is responsible for managing the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey and the Waterways Breeding Bird Survey. Sarah also works in partnership with Butterfly Conservation, the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology and JNCC in order to coordinate the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS).

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The Arctic Skua is thought to be the most rapidly declining seabird species in the UK.

The breeding populations of Arctic Skuas are restricted largely to the Shetland and Orkney Isles, with some smaller populations scattered across Caithness, Sutherland and some headlands and islands off the west coast of Scotland.

Massive declines of 81% have been reported since 1986, in terms of the number of breeding pairs at the sites checked each year at the Shetland colonies; similar losses have been reported on Orkney through periodic counts. Very little information on breeding populations is available from the other colonies. The suite of Special Protection Areas have been recently classed as ‘insufficient’ for Arctic Skua.

There are a number of possible explanations for the demise of Arctic Skua populations, including the continued reduction of sandeel stocks around Shetland, as first reported in the 1990s, and predation and competition from Great Skuas.
















Mike Archer receives recognition from the BTO

Congratulations to long-standing member Mike Archer, who has received the BTO's Jubilee Medal for his many and varied contributions to British ornithology. Full story available here

 Mike archer

A blast from the past

For those of you looking to while away the long winter nights, a copy of the 1985 publication Birds of the Sheffield Area by the late Messrs. Hornbuckle and Herringshaw has just been uploaded to the site. Available to members, it can be found via the "publications" tab under the annual reports section.  


Access to Rother Valley Country Park

It seems that the powers that be have finally seen sense and made car parking charges at RVCP more reasonable. Rather than the extortionate fee of £6 (regardless of how long you spent there) a more pragmatic charge of £1 per hour (up to £6) is now levied. ANPR cameras are now fitted at the main access and pay stations are located at several locations in the park, though I opted for the contactless option at the exit barrier.  During my visit I was able to check the Main Lake and walk a circuit of the reserve for just £2. Though the reserve is very much in need of some TLC it still holds potential and is well worth a couple of quid of anyone's money on a cold winter's day.  Of course there is still free, on foot, access to be had via Barber's Lane (Killamarsh), Rother Valley Way (Sothall) and via the entrance to Pit-house West at Beighton. Why not give it a go, you never know what you might stumble on. Further details here.

Indoor Meeting & Field Trip details for 2022 

These have just been confirmed and can be found here. There's lots to look forward to including a 50th Anniversary finale. We will also be re-convening back in the Sheffield University Diamond building and look forward to speaking face to face again, meeting members old and new!

RSPB Bird Crime Report 2020

The full report can be found here. 

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Christmas is on the way !!!

Support the SBSG through EASY-FUNDRAISING and SMILE
For full details click here 

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Membership News

Membership fees for 2022 will be payable from 1 January 2022 by all members apart from Under 25s and members who joined since 31 August 2021.  The fee is being held at £14 for single membership and £16 for joint/household.  Membership Secretary Martin Hodgson will be happy to receive payments at any time beginning 1 December.  Payment is best made by bank transfer and by completing the online form here.  Details of other methods of payment can be found on the same form.

Dark Peak wader surveying in 2022

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Birds in the Sheffield Area 2018

BSA2018 final

Editor: Richard Hill 

Birds in the Sheffield Area 2018 was published in December 2020 with help of the major sponsors The National Trust, Foothills and Sheffield Photographic Centre 

The cover of an Audouin's Gull at Norfolk Bridge was created by Paul Leonard and the text is interleaved with colour illustrations by Ben Green, Richard Dale and Paul Leonard. The colour photographs are courtesy of  C. Brelsford, A. Deighton, P. Garrity, R.D. Hill, M.N. Reeder, and M. Smethurst. It has a total of 195 pages. 

This edition is dedicated to the memory of Jon Hornbuckle - 1943 - 2018. 

Main Contents:

  • A review of the birding year, 2018
  • Systematic List of records for the year 2018
  • Arrival and departure dates of migrant species in 2018
  • Audouin's Gull at Norfolk Bridge - New for the Sheffield Area
  • Herring Gulls in Urban Chesterfield - A New Breeding Species
  • A Study of Breeding Sand Martins on the Lower Don 2018
  • Obituary - Jon Hornbuckle 1943 - 2018
  • A colour map of the SBSG recording area

The cost is £7 if collected, or £9.50 to include postage and packing. The report is 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.

If you shop online, don’t forget to support SBSG at no extra cost by channelling through easyfundraising or Smile Amazon - Here's how to do it


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


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: