TN33 BTO Director Andy Clements, looking out for birds


Founded in 1932 by conservation giant Max Nicholson the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has both contributed a vast amount to our understanding of Britain’s birds and has undergone some huge changes in the last few years, culminating in a complete rebrand in 2010. In this conversation Dr Andy Clements, who became Director of the BTO in September 2007, explains what the BTO is, the conservation work that it does, the upcoming Bird Atlas 2007-2011, discusses the effects of predators on songbirds (and explains why working with Songbird Survival was a good idea), and talks about the BTO’s strategy 2009-2014 and why a change in the organisation’s public face was felt necessary.

If all that wasn’t enough, Dr Clements has donated a superb BTO Gift Membership – as described on the BTO website at – which one listener can win! How? Just listen to the question at the end of the podcast, find the correct answer on the BTO website (the relevant page is given in the question) and email the answer to Talking Naturally using the ‘Contact’ form at the top of this page by midnight GMT on Saturday 21st May 2011. A winner will be randomly drawn from the correct entries, and will be notified by midnight GMT Monday 23rd May 2011. See below for additional information.

Disclaimer: This podcast has been produced by Talking Naturally to support conservation. No fees or benefits of any kind have been charged or accepted by Talking Naturally. Bandwidth costs for this podcast are sponsored by Digital Spring.


Show Notes

  • About the BTO (from
    The BTO is an independent charitable research institute combining professional and citizen science aimed at using evidence of change in wildlife populations, particularly birds, to inform the public, opinion-formers and environmental policy- and decision-makers. Our impartiality enables our data and information to be used both by Government and NGO campaigners.

    Our long-term monitoring data on the status of UK birds sets the standard worldwide for understanding the effects of environmental change on wildlife. Over 40,000 volunteer birdwatchers, in partnership with professional research scientists, collect high quality monitoring data on birds and other wildlife. The combination of professional ecologists, long-term datasets some in excess of 50 years, and volunteers participating all over the country gives the BTO a unique, impartial and knowledgeable voice in nature conservation.

    We have a broad range of surveys for volunteers to participate in, from weekly counting of garden birds, through monthly winter counts of waterbirds, and sampling of breeding birds across the UK. You can record the nesting success of birds and participate in ringing, where trained volunteers mark birds to discover more about the mysteries of migration. The BTO is a ‘birds-first’ organisation, with our volunteers also collecting data on other wildlife too – we work with partner organisations to monitor everything from butterflies to badgers.



BTO competition additional information: The BTO Gift Membership is as described on the BTO website, has been donated by the BTO, and the competition is not open to employees of the BTO or Talking Naturally. There is no charge for entry. There is only one correct answer. No alternative prize is on offer and the membership may not be exchanged for a cash sum in lieu. The winner will be chosen in a blind draw.


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About the author

Passionate about animal welfare and conservation, veggie and dairy-free, I live in the Wiltshire (UK) countryside. I co-founded Birders Against Wildlife Crime and Birds Korea. Trustee of the League against Cruel Sports On Twitter @charliemoores


  1. Rob says:

    Really enjoyed the podcast Charlie & Andy, thank you. It would be great to hear more from specific project managers or researchers on their findings and actions in the future! Maybe a round table Charlie?

  2. Charlie says:

    I think the time and care that Andy Clements took with this podcast (and we did spend a good deal of time on it) really shows that Talking Naturally is building on earlier interviews with eg Geoffrey Saliba of BirdLife Malta, Martin Hellicar of BirdLife Cyprus, Chris Bowden of the RSPB, and Mike Parr of the American Bird Conservancy and growing in stature all the time: I for one would really welcome the opportunity to do more interviews with the BTO – getting a proper insight into how conservation and conservationists operate at this level is just fascinating and I think really helps supporters and potential supporters put a face to the respective organisations. Now, if only there were 48 hours in every day…

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