Help required to check for oil and “beached” birds around the Devon Coast

The RSPB have asked if we would pass on their request for more volunteers to help with the Beached Bird Survey – can you help?

  • Do you live near the coast and like walking along the beach?
  • Do you have a basic knowledge of seabirds?
  • If so, please read on and volunteer for the Beached Bird Survey

The Beached Bird Survey is an effective way of monitoring trends in oil and other pollution incidents that affect seabirds.  The RSPB needs more volunteers to take part in this simple survey in SW England so we can increase our coverage of accessible coastline.  It involves walking an allocated stretch of beach and recording any oil and the number and species of any `beached’ birds.  Details of the survey and requirements are on the link below.

The annual Beached Bird Survey has been running since 1971.  It enables RSPB to track chronic oil pollution (caused by ships washing out tanks at sea, now illegal thanks to efforts of conservation organisations including RSPB).  Thankfully we have seen a decline in this chronic pollution over the years but our seas are not safe from pollution.  Major incidents have occurred in recent years where emergency Beached Bird Surveys enabled RSPB to assess the impact on seabirds and to take action (eg, after the PIB incidents in 2013, RSPB, in partnership with other organisations and the public, achieved a global ban on the previously legal discharge of this substance as tank washings at sea).

If you would like to help seabirds and the marine environment by walking a beach in your area for the annual Beached Bird Survey in late February (and if you are potentially available to take part in any emergency Beached Bird Surveys organised after a major incident affecting seabirds), please get in touch. If you’ve a local beach in mind, we can allocate that to you if it is not already being surveyed or alternatively we may have some vacant stretches in your area that may be suitable.

To register your interest in volunteering for Beached Bird Survey, please contact Natasha Simmons ( with your name, contact details and coastline of interest.  We will hold some meetings for existing and new volunteers later this year to which you will be invited.  We will match new volunteers with beaches before Christmas and provide all the information you need ahead of the next Beached Bird Survey in February 2015.