Welcome to the SBSG website

Sheffield Bird Study Group was formed in December 1972 as a forum for birdwatchers in and around the city with an active interest in ornithology. The group's recording area, covering twelve 10km squares with the city roughly in the middle, is hugely diverse, stretching north to the outskirts of Barnsley, south to Chesterfield, east to the lowlands beyond Rotherham and Bolsover, and west to the highest tops of the Peak District National Park.

We aim to promote an interest in birds in the community, provide something of interest to all levels of birder, co-ordinate fieldwork and recording in the area, and work with and complement the work of like-minded local and national organisations for the benefit of birds. SBSG is registered charity No 510857. Click here for more.

Indoor Meetings & Field Trips

Coronavirus Update

Dear Member,

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this week, the SBSG Committee has taken the decision to cancel the April and May indoor meetings on account of the coronavirus outbreak.

Given the gravity of the current situation and the strict advice on social distancing, this will also result in the cancellation of the forthcoming field trips to Orgreave Lakes in late April and the traditional visit to Padley Gorge in early May. Please accept our apologies in advance for any disappointment this may cause.

Whilst we still hope to stage the annual crepuscular visit to Redmires in June, it is likely this will befall a similar fate, so please keep an eye on the SBSG website nearer the time for further details. This also applies to our next scheduled indoor meeting on Wednesday 9th September.

During this unprecedented time, it has perhaps never been more important for the SBSG family to support each other through this challenging period. Please consider contacting any fellow members who live on their own or who may be confined to home due to underlying health conditions. Likewise, if you’re struggling in isolation, please do get in touch via email or social media – remember, you’re not alone! 

Whilst I’m happy to leave debates on the erosion of the welfare state in pursuit of lower taxes, the relentless economic growth at the expense of the natural world and Churchillian soundbites to others, here’s ten handy ideas on how the good old SBSG might help you through the coming weeks and months of enforced personal reflection: 

  1. Go birding locally

The health benefits of connecting with the natural world have never been clearer, with some GP’s now actively prescribing birdwatching as a means of reducing stress and combatting mental health issues. 

With exercise still rightly deemed as a necessary requirement despite the current restrictions, why not combine your daily fitness regime with birding inside the Sheffield area and submitting your sightings to the SBSG website? – in the spirit of social distancing, why not avoid well-watched localities and visit an old haunt, obscure locality or pick an under-watched and remote site from an old SBSG annual report?  

Who knows what rare birds lurk out there if you think outside the box a little?     

  1. Record local bird movements from your bedroom window or garden

Fool your neighbours into thinking you are checking up on their toilet roll consumption by setting up an observation post from an upstairs window or suitable vantage point in your garden. Unlike satsuma-faced populists, birds do not conform to arbitrary man-made boundaries and many migrants can often be tracked over urban areas as they make their way to and from their breeding grounds. The Sheffield area is no exception, with wildfowl, raptors, waders and migratory passerines all regular reported within the pages of our annual report. Once again, please submit your records via the SBSG website and contribute to local ornithology during these historic times.

Screenshot 2020 03 18 at 14.24.32

Upstairs observation post – with distant breeding Carrion Crow Corvus corone (Richard Hill)

3. Study your garden breeding birds

Birds are all around us. From my own window, I can observe breeding House Sparrow, Starling, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Magpie and Carrion Crow to name but a few. Whilst familiar common species grace our bird tables during the winter months, why not try and observe their behaviour more closely as we now head into breeding season. The BTO is always looking for volunteers of its Nest Record Scheme and once you know about the private lives of Dunnocks, you’ll be glued to your binoculars!

4. Make or buy a Swift nest box

Swifts are in trouble – these magnificent urban birds need our help, so maybe take the current hiatus to make, order and erect a Swift nest box, although please be careful with those ladders! More details can be found at Swift Conservation at https://swift-conservation.org/ 

5. Take up nocturnal bird recording

The SBSG is currently looking to improve its recording effort with a particular focus on technology and nocturnal birds. Why not combine the two and become part of our future plan to co-ordinate nocturnal recording over the SBSG area?

The popularity of ‘nocmig’ has increased considerably in recent years, and all being well, the BTO’s Dr Simon Gillings is due to come and talk to us on this subject later in the year. In the meantime, if you are interested in getting involved with this project, please view the nocmig website at www.nocmig.com or read Simon’s recent article available on the Birdguides website:


6. Visit the Sheffield Peregrines webcam 

Keep up to date with the University of Sheffield’s Peregrine webcam on St George’s church, where you can enjoy the trials and tribulations of Sheffield’s majestic urban falcons from the comfort of your own home. See www.sbsg.org for details.

8. Read through old SBSG annual reports and e-newsletters

These are available from the Members’ Area of the SBSG website in pdf form and provide a wealth of information on the history of Sheffield’s birds and its observers.

9. Download the new e-book version of the SBSG Breeding Atlas

A kindle version of the sold-out print version is now available via the Amazon website. Details of this new development are available in the latest e-newsletter which is only £1.99 and viewable on most devices. Alternatively visit www.amazon.co.uk

10. Read Birds in a Cage by Derek Niemann

If you think things are bad now, then please consider reading this inspiring book on how enforced confinement didn’t stop a group of WW II prisoners of war becoming legends of ornithology and conservation. John Buxton’s study of the Common Redstart alone should be an inspiration to us all given our relative comfortable existence. A fine review of this book was provided by Pete Brown in the September 2019 e-newsletter.

Well, back to the window for me. I hope these ideas are of some help and I look forward to welcoming you all back to the SBSG fold safe and well at some point during the autumn.

Take care.

With best birding wishes,

Richard Hill

Chair – Sheffield Bird Study Group 

















BTO Garden Birdwatch now free to join


For more information see here.

Phil Ridsdale


We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of SBSG member Phil Ridsdale.

Phil was a long-standing and well respected member of the group, and was also involved with Sorby Breck Ringing Group, SK58 birders, and Spurn Bird Observatory.

Our thoughts go out to Phil’s family and friends at this difficult time.

Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust - Request for help

As part of the SLLP project, we are doing some work with Yorkshire Water at Brooks Bank farmland just to the east of Midhope Reservoir, one of the projects is to re-wet the field located at the corner where Gill Royd Land meets Mortimer Road (SK234985) to make it more suitable for waders. 

A request for birders in that area that would be willing to do a semi-regular check for waders in that field. It would be very useful to be able to look at numbers before the works take place and compare them to numbers afterwards. 

Please contact Julie Riley.

Julie Riley

Community Ecologist - Sheffield Lakeland Landscape Partnership

Wildscapes/Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust
37 Stafford Road, Sheffield S2 2SF
Tel: 0114 303 5123

Willow Tit Survey 2020

Following last years successful Willow Tit Survey, targeting tetrads where breeding was known to occur, we are now conducting a second year of surveying those probable and possibe squares in our area.  We have a number of remaining tetrads that still require volunteers and these can be seen here

If you require any further information please contact Mark Reeder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Stanage  and North Lees

A public consultation is currently running to  gather views on the future management of the North Lees estate and Stanage Edge and is open now until about February 27th. The Stanage Forum with SBSG input will of course  make a formal response to an options appraisal that is far too limited in scope. However local residents and the climbing community are keen to make their views known on an individual basis.

For those birders and lovers of nature  who care about Stanage it would also be great if you could have a look at the public consultation link and respond. The link is here

The climbers (BMC) have all met and discussed the proposals and their response is available on the following link here


Birds of the Sheffield Area 2017 

The 2017 edition of our annual report has now been published and has been distributed to everyone who was a paying member in 2018.  Under 25 members will have received a PDF version.  Non-members can obtain a copy by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Price £6 plus £2 p&p. 

2017 Report


2019 Ring Ouzel survey report

The results of the 2019 Eastern Moors and Burbage Ring Ouzel survey season can be found here, with thanks to Kim Leyland.


Meet Richard Hill our new SBSG Chairman 

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Richard has identified key objectives that he hopes we can achieve -

  • streamline the running of the Group;
  • increase our membership, particularly among young people through education and engagement;
  • form closer links with local & regional groups;
  • expand our recording effort through new technology.

Read Richard's full chair's statement here


Cost-free fundraising for SBSG when you shop online

For details of how to raise money for SBSG, whenever you shop onlne, please see here for details.


Colour-ringed Willow Tits 

During May 7 juvenile Willow Tits were ringed at Totley. Observers are asked to report all sightings of these colour-ringed birds. Each bird has a unique combination with a yellow ring over another coloured ring that is either blue, yellow, red, orange, black, light green or white, as shown in the example below.

CR Willow Tit WEB


Good news for younger members

Free membership is now available for persons under the age of 25.  The age limit was previously 22.  And it’s available regardless of whether you’re in full time education or not.  Existing members should by now have received revised membership certificates from Martin Hodgson, the Membership Secretary.  If you haven’t but you think you ought to have, or if you are a paying member who now qualifies for free membership, please contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Help Sheffield University and SBSG support the Sheffield Peregrines

With your help we can provide more opportunities for people to learn more about these amazing birds as well as carry out important research. You can support the Sheffield Peregrines Project by donating through the Virgin Money Giving page.

Click on this link to learn more about the plans for the project and to donate: