Due to Covid-19 we have had to cancel courses from March to 1st August, we hope you will find an event later in the year that you can attend.

Birds survey techniques are vital as birds are often seen as a good measure of the ‘health’ of the environment and the data produced from sound, long term, surveys are essential to measure population trends. This is a course for the keen amateur ornithologist or wildlife professional who would like to learn some basic bird survey techniques.

Early summer in the Welsh Borderlands provides a good range of habitats for birds and there will be the opportunity to practice both woodland and farmland surveys, including habitat assessment, in the countryside around Preston Montford. In addition, wetland surveys, coastal surveys, winter and other supplementary techniques will be covered in lectures. The summer Breeding Bird Survey technique will be of especial interest to members of the British Trust for Ornithology. There will be at least one early start so come prepared for long fieldwork days.


This is one of a series of courses (Units) run jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University contributing to the MSc Biological Recording and Ecological Monitoring and the Postgraduate Certificate in Biological Recording. To gain university credits you must be registered for the programme in advance of this course. For further details please contact:

Department of Natural Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, (Shrewsbury Office). E-mail: [email protected]  Phone: 01743 355137

The Unit will be assessed through, for example, identification tests, survey reports, field journals, production of keys, essays or other forms of assessment.

The course is also suitable for non-credit students and for those enrolling on the new certificate course with FSC. For further details on this course please contact FSC Head Office at [email protected]

Tutor: Kevin Clements

Kevin Clements is a County Bird Recorder and Deputy Chairman of the West Midlands Bird Club. An experienced field ornithologist and naturalist, he has worked for many organisations in conservation and biological recording.

Example Timetable

19:30 – 21:00 Introduction to the group and course

06:00 – 08:00 Bird ringing at FSC Preston Montford
08:00 – 09:00 Breakfast
09:30 – 13:00 Benthall Edge Wood – a simple bird survey
13:30 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:30 Analysis of data
15:30 – 17:00 Additional Survey Techniques
18:30 – 19:30 Dinner
19:30 – 21:00 Territory Mapping


05:30 – 07:30 Territory Mapping Survey
08:00 – 09:00 Breakfast
09:30 – 13:00 Tetrad Survey
13:00 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 15:30 Analysis of data
15:30 – 17:00 Distance Estimation
18:30 – 19:30 Dinner
19:30 – 21:00 Distance Sampling

08:00 – 09:00 Breakfast
09:30 – 12:30 Transect Surveys
12:30 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 14:30 Point Counts
14:30 – 15:00 Analyse Point Count data
15:00 – 15:30 Assignment
15:30 – 16:00 Review and finish

Accrediting Agency

Manchester Metropolitan University

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Personal and Travel Insurance

Before You Attend

What to Bring 

  • Binoculars are essential, preferably between 8x30 and 10x50 – 8x40 are ideal, but miniature binoculars are not suitable.
  • You may wish to bring a telescope if you have one, but this is not essential.
  • Field Guide – you will need one for the Class Test.
  • Notebook and pen/pencil.
  • Scientific calculator.
  • Warm waterproof clothing and footwear, but not too brightly coloured or rustly.
  • Warm hat and gloves for inclement weather and sunhat and sun cream for sunny days
  • A sandwich box, flask and/or water bottle and a rucksack or similar to carry your kit. Useful Books Any background reading is useful.

Recommended Reading

  • Bibby et al (2000). “Bird Census Techniques”. 2nd edition Academic Press.
  • Gilbert et al (1998). “Bird Monitoring Methods”. RSPB.
  • Sutherland W J (2006). “Ecological Census Techniques”. Cambridge University Press.
  • Svensson, Mullarney and Zetterstrom (2010) “Collins Bird Guide” 2nd edition. Collins. The first edition is perfectly useable but has an older taxonomic organisation.