Seabirds Count – A census of breeding seabirds of Britain and Ireland

Seabirds Count is the fourth census of all breeding seabirds in Britain and Ireland, following on from Operation Seafarer (1969/70), the Seabird Colony Register (SCR; 1985-88) and Seabird 2000 (1998-2002). Fieldwork along 40,000 km of the British and Irish coastline has commenced in 2015 and will be completed in 2018. This census aims for the same survey coverage as during Seabird 2000 which entailed counting over eight million breeding seabirds at 3,300 coastal and 900 inland colonies.

In addition to a national census, JNCC, in Partnership with 18 other organisations, co-ordinates the Seabird Monitoring Program (SMP), which is an ongoing annual monitoring program, established in 1986, of 25 species of seabird that regularly breed in Britain and Ireland. The SMP ensures that sample data on breeding numbers and productivity of seabirds are collected, both regionally and nationally, to enable their conservation status to be assessed. JNCC manages the SMP database, to which information on existing and new colonies is constantly added by other bodies and dedicated individuals.

The main aims of the Seabirds Count census are:

1. To undertake a complete census of all species of seabirds breeding in Britain and Ireland.

2. To determine whether population trends recorded at local levels by the SMP are representative of national trends.

3. To identify long-term (last 45 years) national trends by comparison with the previous three censuses,

4. To determine the level of change recorded since Seabird 2000, a period when the populations of some seabird species of the Britain and Ireland are predicted to have undergone dramatic change.


In Suffolk, Mick Wright will be co-ordinating the Seabirds Count Census. He will be in contact with reserve wardens who have breeding seabirds on their reserves as well as other fieldworkers known to him who monitor breeding seabirds. However, he would like to hear from other potential fieldworkers who wish to help. This census will be the biggest seabird censusing effort in Britain and Ireland since the Seabird 2000 census.

Over the next two years there will also be an Urban Nesting Gull census, however, to date the methodology has not been received, but Mick would like to hear from birders that are willing to help.

Contact Details:  Mick Wright

Tel: 01473 721486 Email:

Facebook: Mick Wright

Facebook Group: Suffolk Bird Surveys