Rennie, S. et al

UK Environmental Change Network (ECN) common breeding birds data 1971-2007

Bird species data from the UK Environmental Change Network (ECN) lowland terrestrial sites. These data were collected, using the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)'s Common Bird Census methodology (CBC), at ECN's lowland terrestrial sites using a standard protocol. This protocol was abandoned in favour of the Breeding Bird Survey (Rennie et al (2017) UK Environmental Change Network (ECN) bird data: 1995-2015 in 1999; however, some sites continued to follow this protocol for a number of years after 1999 to allow comparison with the Breeding Bird Survey data. The CBC uses a mapping method in which a series of visits are made to all parts of a defined plot during the breeding season and contacts with birds by sight or sound are recorded on large-scale maps. Information from the series of visits is combined to estimate the number of territories found. Annual data are recorded but the date ranges available are variable for each site. ECN is the UK's long-term environmental monitoring programme. It is a multi-agency programme sponsored by a consortium of fourteen government departments and agencies. These organisations contribute to the programme through funding either site monitoring and/or network co-ordination activities. These organisations are: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru - Natural Resources Wales, Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Llywodraeth Cymru - Welsh Government, Natural England, Natural Environment Research Council, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Publication date: 2017-12-15

Get the data

This dataset is made available under the terms of the Open Government Licence

Format of the dataset : Comma-separated values (CSV)

You must cite: Rennie, S. ; Bater, J. ; Beaumont, D. ; Benham, S. ; Britt, C. ; Brooks, D. ; Brunt, A. ; Brunt, J. ; Corbett, S. ; Critchley, N. ; Donovan, N. ; Hargreaves, P. ; Howe, M. ; Lane, M. ; McMillan, S. ; Morecroft, M. ; Onley, D. ; Overall, R. ; Pallett, D. ; Schafer, S. ; Scott, T. ; Sherrin, L. ; Shortall, C. ; Smith, R. ; Smith, P. ; Taylor, M. ; Tyson, K. (2017). UK Environmental Change Network (ECN) common breeding birds data 1971-2007. NERC Environmental Information Data Centre.


© Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (Natural Environment Research Council)

This dataset is part of the following


Study area
Temporal extent
1971-01-01    to    2007-12-31

Provenance & quality

These data are collected, using the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)'s Common Bird Census methodology, at all of ECN's terrestrial sites using a standard protocol. Prior to deposit of the data in the EIDC, data are managed by the ECN Data Centre at CEH Lancaster according to defined protocols.

Verification steps include numeric range checks (i.e. checking if a value falls within a specified range), categorical checks (e.g. checking that a species code appears on the standard code list), formatting (i.e. that the dataset conforms to the specified data format) and logical integrity checks (i.e. checking the data make sense, e.g. that the dates in one dataset match those in a related dataset).

Appropriate range settings for ECN variables have been selected following discussion with specialists in each field. Where data fall outside these ranges, a cautious approach has been adopted towards discarding data on the principle that apparent errors may be valid outliers. Such values are discarded only if there is a clear explanation (e.g. an instrumentation error) and corrections are made where possible. If the reason is unclear, the values are stored, but are qualified using pre-defined quality codes or free-text descriptions. Data providers also use these codes or free text to describe factors affecting sampling outside their control, instrument damage or site management effects.

Correspondence/contact details

Sue Rennie
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Lancaster Environment Centre, Library Avenue, Bailrigg
United Kingdom


Rennie, S.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Bater, J.
Rothamsted Research
Beaumont, D.
Rothamsted Research, North Wyke
Benham, S.
Forest Research
Britt, C.
Brooks, D.
Rothamsted Research
Brunt, A.
Forest Research
Brunt, J.
Forest Research
Corbett, S.
Critchley, N.
Donovan, N.
Rothamsted Research, North Wyke
Hargreaves, P.
Rothamsted Research
Howe, M.
Rothamsted Research
Lane, M.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
McMillan, S.
Morecroft, M.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Onley, D.
Overall, R.
Pallett, D.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Schafer, S.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Scott, T.
Rothamsted Research
Sherrin, L.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Shortall, C.
Rothamsted Research
Smith, R.
Rothamsted Research, North Wyke
Smith, P.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Taylor, M.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Tyson, K.
Rothamsted Research, North Wyke

Other contacts

Environmental Information Data Centre
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre


Spatial representation type
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
WGS 84


Topic categories
Alice Holt,  Drayton,  Hillsborough,  North Wyke,  Porton Down Rothamsted,  UK Wytham
Environmental Monitoring Facilities