Survey – South Downs Farmland Birds

South Downs farmland bird monitoring


An exciting new monitoring project started in 2014 as part the South Downs Farmland Bird Initiative. The project is a collaboration between the RSPB, Natural England, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), the BTO, the South Downs Land Management Group and the Sussex and Hampshire Ornithological Societies. The project combines data from the BTO Breeding Bird Survey with additional data from randomly-distributed squares within the South Downs national park that are surveyed annually. The South Downs Farmland Bird Initiative is a wider project which involves working with farmers and landowners to provide the ‘Big 3’ for farmland birds: safe nesting areas, summer feeding areas and winter feeding areas. Focusing on lapwing, grey partridge and corn bunting, the habitat created also benefits other bird species such as skylark, linnet and yellowhammer, as well as other farmland wildlife including brown hares, rare arable plants and bumblebees. The monitoring project will hopefully help to measure the effectiveness of this work across the South Downs national park.

The available squares to be surveyed in Sussex are listed below (updated 31/12/2021), and the survey instructions are available here. If you are interested in taking on one of these squares for this project, or if you would like further information, please contact Helen Crabtree at or on 01444 441687.

SU7612 Forestside
SU7721 Goose Green
SU8023 Rogate
SU8221 near Trotton
SU8426 Milland
SU8518 Bepton
SU8723 Woolbeding
SU9023 near Easebourne
SU9126 near Lickfold
SU9619 Coultershaw Bridge
TQ0013 West Burton
TQ0019 Hesworth Common

The available squares to be surveyed in Hampshire are:

SU4922 near Colden Common
SU4925 near Twyford
SU6029 Cheriton Wood
SU6225 Brockwood Copse
SU6422 near West Meon
SU6828 Basing Park
SU7121 near Butser
SU7137 Chawton