top of page

The Breeding Bird Survey:

The Breeding Birds of South Brent

A comparison of the results obtained during the
2014-2016 Brent Bird Survey with previously
published atlases of breeding birds in Devon


compiled by Barrie Whitehall


There was a particular focus on breeding birds in the third year of the Brent Bird Survey.  This was initiated and led by Barrie Whitehall who has now created an account of breeding observations across the parish for 75 species.  In addition he's compared the records from the BBS with those from Sitters (1977 - 1983) and the Devon Bird Atlas (2007 - 2013).


Below is the introduction to Barrie's report, the list of bird species it covers and a sample of the data and commentary from the report (for the Sparrowhawk).  You can download the full report in pdf format here.


The following information has been compiled from data submitted by Brent Birders during the
Brent Bird Survey conducted between the years 2014 and 2016, hereafter referred to as either the
2014-2016 BBS or just BBS. The survey was conceived to determine the species occupying the area
of Brent parish throughout the year. Brent parish covers a total of 52 one km squares although just
over half of those are edge squares where some of the square actually lies outside the parish
boundary. However for the purpose of the survey the whole of those edge squares was surveyed.

The recording of breeding by any species was an extra and considered to be an addition to the real
aims of the survey. However in 2016, the last year of the full month by month survey, some extra
effort was put into obtaining breeding information and an additional form was provided for
observers to specifically submit breeding information. The uptake of this part of the survey was
limited in terms of the numbers submitting information, however considerable effort was put in by
those who did submit information and some valuable data was obtained.

The author has collated this information and produced maps and written text for each species. At the
same time the two breeding atlas maps for Devon, the first surveyed for between 1977 and 1983,
referred to here as Sitters 1977-1983, and the second surveyed between 2007 and 2013, referred to
here as Devon Atlas 2007-2013 have been consulted and distribution maps produced based on the
tetrads surveyed that correspond to the BBS area. Again more than half of the tetrads are edge
tetrads, some only encompass one of the potential four BBS squares that could lie within them and
therefore the data might be misleading. A good example of this is tetrad SX66L which, whilst it
encompasses two BBS squares, namely 1 and 2, also contains Piles Copse which lies outside the
BBS area and is significantly different in habitat type from squares 1 and 2. The direct comparison
of BBS data with Devon Atlas data for this area shows many species absent because they only occur
in and around Piles Copse. However it was thought best to plot this tetrad along with all the other
edge tetrads and alert the user of this data to that potential for being misled rather than omit it from
the comparison.

During the compilation of data from the 2007-2013 Devon Atlas it was found that the data for edge
tetrad SX76F was also severely limited with only 3 possible breeding species being recorded and
non in the probable or confirmed category. This is obviously a gross under estimate of the breeding
status of species within that tetrad and should not be used to judge comparisons between the three
different surveys.

The following colour codes have been used on the maps to denote the breeding status of the various
species in either the tetrads used for the two Devon Atlas maps or the 1 km squares used for the
BBS map.









The following criterion as used by the British Trust for Ornithology and the Devon Bird Atlas were
used to judge the breeding status of the species.

Possible breeder:     Species observed in suitable habitat, or singing male heard
Probable breeder:     Pair in suitable nesting habitat, defended territory, courtship, visiting
                             probable nest site, agitated behaviour or nest building
Confirmed breeder:  Distraction display, used nest or eggshells, dependant fledged young, adult
                             behaviour indicating an occupied nest, adult carrying faecal sac or food for
                             young, nest with eggs or nest with young seen or heard

The results have been plotted on spreadsheets in a matrix corresponding to the ordnance survey grid
covering the Brent parish.

A total of 75 species are mapped in the following document, these include 7 species that have been
lost or potentially lost as breeding species in the area and 6 species that have been gained as
breeding species in the area since the 1977-1983 Sitters Atlas.

The species that are no longer recorded as breeding or probably breeding in the Brent area are
Grey Partridge, Dunlin, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Wood Warbler, Ring Ouzel and Pied Flycatcher.

The species that have been recorded breeding or probably breeding in the Brent area either by the
time of the 2007-2013 atlas or as a result of the 2014-2016 BBS are Canada Goose, Little Grebe,
Kingfisher, Grasshopper Warbler, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin, although the Lesser Redpoll might be
breeding just outside the Brent area.



Canada Goose                  Page 5      Rook                       Page 30       Blackbird                 Page 55
Mallard                           Page 6      Carrion Crow            Page 31        Song Thrush            Page 56
Grey Partridge                  Page 7      Raven                     Page 32        Mistle Thrush          Page 57
Pheasant                         Page 8      Goldcrest                Page 33        Spotted Flycatcher   Page 58
Little Grebe                      Page 9      Blue Tit                  Page 34        Robin                     Page 59
Sparrowhawk                   Page 10     Great Tit                 Page 35        Pied Flycatcher        Page 60
Buzzard                           Page 11      Coal Tit                   Page 36        Redstart                Page 61
Moorhen                         Page 12     Marsh Tit                 Page 37        Whinchat                Page 62
Dunlin                             Page 13     Skylark                    Page 38       Stonechat               Page 63
Snipe                              Page 14     Swallow                   Page 39       Wheatear                Page 64
Stock Dove                      Page 15     House Martin            Page 40       Dunnock                 Page 65
Woodpigeon                    Page 16     Long-tailed Tit          Page 41       House Sparrow        Page 66
Collared Dove                   Page 17     Wood Warbler           Page 42       Grey Wagtail           Page 67
Cuckoo                            Page 18     Chiffchaff                 Page 43      Pied Wagtail            Page 68
Barn Owl                          Page 19     Willow Warbler         Page 44      Tree Pipit                Page 69
Little Owl                         Page 20     Blackcap                  Page 45      Meadow Pipit          Page 70
Tawny Owl                       Page 21     Garden Warbler          Page 46       Chaffinch               Page 71
Swift                               Page 22     Whitethroat              Page 47      Bullfinch                 Page 72
Kingfisher                        Page 23     Grasshopper Warbler  Page 48      Greenfinch              Page 73
Green Woodpecker            Page 24     Nuthatch                  Page 49      Linnet                    Page 74
Great Spotted Woodpecker Page 25     Treecreeper               Page 50      Lesser Redpoll        Page 75
Kestrel                             Page 26     Wren                       Page 51       Goldfinch               Page 76
Magpie                            Page 27     Starling                    Page 52       Siskin                    Page 77
Jay                                  Page 28     Dipper                      Page 53      Yellowhammer        Page 78
Jackdaw                           Page 29     Ring Ouzel                Page 54      Reed Bunting          Page 79

© 2014 by South Brent Bird Group Proudly created with



Parish Map - pdf


2024 Bird Recording Form -

       pdf or Excel (xlsx or xls)


2024 Non-Bird Recording Form -

      pdf or Excel (xlsx or xls)


2024 Recording Guidelines - pdf


Observers Crib Sheet - pdf


Brent Bird Survey Report 2014 - pdf


Brent Bird Survey Report 2015 - pdf


Brent Bird Survey Report 2016 - pdf


  • Thanks to the BTO for permission to use their photographs on the results charts

  • Thanks to Steve Hopper and Keith Male for permission to use their bird photographs on this site.

Click on the links below to go directly to the latest survey data.


Survey Overview:

Parish Map

Species Count

Surveyor Coverage

Non-bird Survey

bottom of page