This bird survey course is perfect for the keen amateur ornithologist or wildlife professional who would like to learn and develop basic bird survey techniques. Birds are an important indicator species and accurate survey data is essential in monitoring their telling population trends. If you want to use your skills to support the conservation of birds and their habitat, this course is for you!

Your course will take place at the Preston Montford Centre which is nestled in the heart of Shropshire and surrounded by a diverse natural environment, including the River Severn and semi-ancient woodland. This location and the time of year provides a broad range of habitats for birds, giving you the opportunity to get out into the field and practice both woodland and farmland surveys, including habitat assessment. In addition, wetland, coastal, and winter surveys, and other supplementary techniques will be covered in lectures. We will also cover the summer Breeding Bird Survey technique which will be of especial interest to members of the British Trust for Ornithology.

There will be at least one early start, so please come prepared for long, immersive days out in the field.

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. Birding has taken him throughout the country and inspired him to pass on his knowledge and love of birds to others.

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give an outline of what to expect.
If you have booked accommodation with the centre your bedroom will be ready from 3.00 pm onwards on the day of arrival and we ask that you vacate by 9.30 am on the morning of departure.
If numbers are sufficient a station pick up will be arranged at 5.30 pm from Shrewsbury Station.
Please arrive in time for the evening meal at 6.30 pm on the Friday
The course starts after dinner with a classroom session 7.30 pm - 9.00 pm
The course ends at 4.00 pm on the final day.

Time will be made available for eating packed lunches during the day

Lab. Introduction to Bird Survey Techniques
MacKinnon List Technique

09:00 Lab. Equipped for a morning in the field: MacKinnon List survey at Benthall Edge Wood, Ironbridge
Return for lunch
14:00 Lab. Analyse MacKinnon List survey results
Lab. Additional Survey Techniques presentation
19:00 Lab. Territory Mapping presentation

05:30 Darwin common room equipped for:
Territory Mapping survey of Preston Montford grounds
09:30 Lab. Equipped for morning in the field:
Tetrad survey of SJ41H
Return for lunch
14:00 Lab. Analyse Territory Mapping results
Examine Tetrad survey results
Distance estimation – Preston Montford
19:00 Lab. Distance Sampling presentation

09:30 Lab. Transect Surveys – Preston Montford
Point Counts – Preston Montford
Analyse Point Count data
Breaks and lunch as required
Lab. Assignment
16:00 Finish

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Picnic Lunch

What’s included?

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the subject
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which we are renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression
  • All meals provided

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be provided. In choosing this course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.

PLEASE NOTE For course bookings including full board accommodation, please note bathroom facilities maybe be shared

Before You Attend

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can make any necessary adjustments.

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.

Sorry this course booking is closed