The Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS)

The Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) is a long-term, national monitoring scheme that quantifies the concentrations of contaminants in the livers and eggs of selected species of predatory and fish-eating birds in Britain. Levels of contaminants are monitored to determine variations between species and regions, changes over time and effects on individual birds and their populations.

The Scheme is funded by CEH, Defra, Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the RSPB and the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU).

Species currently analysed include livers from sparrowhawk, barn owl, kestrel and red kite; addled eggs (collected by licenced egg collectors) from merlin, golden eagle, sea eagle, gannet and sparrowhawk nests. These species were selected as they are vulnerable to pesticides, or because their distribution or prey-preference makes them suitable for monitoring geographical and temporal trends in pesticide and other chemical use. All birds are given a post-mortem examination and tissues (liver, brain, muscle, kidney, bone, fat) and a selection of feathers are archived. This archive provides a unique capacity to determine long-term trends in other chemicals that may be recognised in the future as posing a significant risk to wildlife.

In addition, the PBMS analyses otter livers, provided by the Cardiff University Otter Project, for contaminants.

Supplemental information

Other useful information regarding this data collection: