The Countryside Bird Survey
The Countryside Bird Survey (CBS) is a national project that monitors population trends of Ireland’s common and widespread breeding birds. It has been running since 1998. The main aim of the CBS is to keep tabs on changes in breeding bird populations from year to year and over long term periods.
To date, the information gathered and analysis of these data have served to provide information on the status of our common and widespread bird species. Ireland’s breeding bird species have fared well or even increased in recent decades. Although some have declined to varying degrees and others, such as the Corn Bunting, have ceased to breed altogether. Such declines can be noted anecdotally, however this survey aims to detect and quantify such changes using scientific but user-friendly methods - please see survey design for more information on the methods.
This survey has served to show that populations of our common and widespread birds are continually changing. Species such as Stonechat and Goldfinch have increased substantially over the past 10 years, while others such as Kestrel and Skylark have been declining. Reasons for these declines have not been proven, but we can make some likely suggestions based on the species distribution and ecology in Ireland. For further information and useful reading material, please see publications.
The data from this survey have also been used in a wider, pan-European context, aimed at determining the status of birds throughout Europe as a whole. Further information on this project can be found on the European Bird Census Council website.
If you enjoy walking in the countryside and watching birds during springtime, you will enjoy participating in this survey. Anyone with a reasonable working knowledge of Ireland’s common and widespread birds can take part. As many birds are detected first by sound (and often not actually seen) it is also helpful to be able to identify birds by song and call. Please see field methods for further information, or click here to download the guidelines.
How do I take part?
The CBS is funded and supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and is coordinated by BirdWatch Ireland.