Sussex Nightingale Survey 2022

Sussex Nightingale Survey 2022

This year Sussex Ornithological Society will be asking volunteers to help conduct a county survey of Nightingales.

Sussex is one of the most important counties in Britain for breeding Nightingales. A team led by Dr Chris Hewson at the BTO estimated in 2018 that the UK population of singing males is between 5095-5983 individuals, distributed at sites spread across the south and east of England. They were last surveyed in Sussex as part of the national BTO survey in 2012/13, when 852 Nightingale territories were identified in Sussex.

The key aim of the project is to survey Nightingale in a randomly selected sample of 1km squares across Sussex using standard and repeatable methods. This will involve 2 early visits before 8:30am between 21 April and 14 May. The selection of squares to survey are based on sites with Nightingales from the BTO survey, squares with records since 2012/13 and some squares surveyed with no records to assess potential distribution change. Nil results in a survey within 1km square are just as important as positive results.

All the information about the survey can be found on the survey website below.

Please use this link to select a survey square. Once you have selected a square I will be notified and will confirm the allocation of the 1km square. You will then be sent a confirmation email and link to the survey documents. The survey documents can be viewed before requesting a survey square by clicking and viewing a green square that has already been allocated.

Please submit all other records of Nightingales, outside the survey, via BirdTrack or the SOS using the “Records Capture” spreadsheet available on our website. Please give full details including date, accurate location (preferably 6-figure OS reference), number of singing males plus any relevant comments such as brief description of habitat. These casual records will be important for the 2022 survey as well as for the society records and SOS conservation work. A recent talk about SOS conservation work can be found on our YouTube channel here

The survey can be conducted individually or with a friend and because of the secretive nature of Nightingales the main equipment you will need to survey are your ears to listen for males singing. So if you have never helped out with an SOS survey before but always wanted to then maybe this could be the one you start on.

Thanks in advance for volunteering and good luck with the survey.


Matt Twydell
SOS Survey Officer