Q and A: Dr Mark Eaton Talk

Dr Mark Eaton’s talk on the work of the Rare Breeding Birds Panel is now available to watch on the SOS YouTube channel and his answers to a few extra questions are below.


Question Answer(s)
1 As a species that is fairly common as a breeder in the SE why is the Peregrine on the RBBP? With an estimate from the last national survey of 1,701 pairs, Peregrine sits comfortably below the RBBP’s upper threshold. While it might be seen relatively frequently, I’d argue that they’re not ‘fairly common’ in the SE – the RBBP estimates around 140 pairs in our SE region (a wider definition covering ten counties including the likes of Oxon, Beds, Bucks & Essex) though obviously that’s a lot more than there used to be. Range expansions and population increases in lowland England in recent decades have unfortunately been accompanied by losses in coastal and upland populations in the north and west
2 Mark talked about value of Birdtrack, does that equally apply to BBS surveys? The BBS is incredibly important in terms of wider monitoring of the UK’s birds. While the RBBP can access data submitted to the BBS, we would ask BBS surveyors to submit records of any species on the RBBP encountered on their surveys to their county bird recorder, (which can be done via BirdTrack) in addition to in their usual BBS submission. Results of BTO BBS surveys can be entered directly via the relevant section of the BTO website.
3 Any advice on finding evidence of breeding of ground nesting birds? Particulary Woodlark. For Woodlark, it is best to watch from a distance for evidence of, for example, nest-building or food being taken to the young. Singing birds are easy to detect as their song and song flight are distinctive.