Upcoming Bird Surveys 1: WinGS January 2024
The BTO is organising the Winter Gull Survey (WinGS) for 2023/24–2024/25. The last survey took place from 2003/04-2005/06 and concluded that the UK and near-shore coastal waters supported over 3.8 million wintering gulls at that time. Population trends from the BTO/RSPB/JNCC Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) for gull species present in the UK in winter are variable and updated information is necessary to identify potential Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for gulls. The primary goal of the survey is to produce new population estimates for wintering gulls in the UK and assess how populations have changed since the last survey in 2003/04–2005/06. The results of this survey will also aid us in assessing the impact of the ongoing outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) on gull populations and enable us to identify sites where the 1% threshold for the population is exceeded to thus recommend potential protected area designation for the species.
The primary winter surveys will take place in January 2024 and January 2025. Each site will need to be covered in one of these two winters only. Supplementary visits to Key Sites (see below) are also requested in autumn 2024 to understand variation in numbers between seasons. A clear understanding of the identification criteria for the UK’s six primary gull species is essential: Common, Black-headed, Mediterranean, Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed Gulls. More unusual gull species may also be observed so broad knowledge is helpful.
If you’d like to take part full details of the survey and the sites available can be found by opening or logging in to your BTO account and signing up for WinGS, listed amongst other BTO surveys here: https://www.bto.org/my-bto
After you sign up it may take a few minutes for the survey to appear under "My Current Projects". Please refresh your browser after signing up if you encounter a longer wait time.