Ornithological surveys

OSC staff are trained and qualified European Seabirds At Sea (ESAS) Observers and can provide a broad range of services for marine industry and scientific research on-shore, near-shore, and offshore. All wild birds in the UK are protected by law (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981) and survey and monitoring plans are necessary whenever projects are conducted near Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Ramsar sites, or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), especially when endangered or threatened birds are found within such areas. OSC’s experienced ornithologists can assist with developing and conducting surveys and writing monitoring plans for the energy, decommissioning, and research sectors, fulfil monitoring requirements during industry operations, and aid in ensuring compliance with environmental regulations, including developing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017.


OSC offers a broad range of services, ranging from compliance to research. 

  • ESAS and diversity surveys – Most new developments, both terrestrial and marine, will require surveys establishing which species are present or if wild birds (particularly breeding birds) are in the area. OSC’s qualified staff can offer survey services to fulfil these requirements. Additionally, we are available to partner with academic institutions and conservation organisations to provide offshore seabird diversity monitoring for a variety of projects and research.
  • Decommissioning – Decommissioning of offshore installations is a rapidly growing industry, projected to increase significantly over the next 10 years. Assessing breeding birds on platforms proposed for decommissioning is required as part of survey and monitoring or environmental impact mitigation plans in most cases. OSC ornithologists can conduct breeding bird surveys and produce impact reports to fulfil such requirements;
  • Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs)/Habitats Regulations Assessments (HRAs) – Similarly, OSC staff can provide thorough and detailed EIAs and HRAs for a variety of projects, both terrestrial and offshore. Our qualified ecologists are capable of meeting survey requirements across the UK for proposed developments, particularly for wind farm installations;
  • Colony monitoring – OSC ornithologists have experience in monitoring breeding seabird colonies, in both research and conservation contexts, including remote deployments for extended periods of time. We are capable of monitoring colonies on-site in remote field camps, from vantage points, or through integration of remote monitoring technology (such as monitoring cameras);
  • Tagging and ringing – OSC staff have extensive tagging and ringing backgrounds, including relevant BTO permits and permissions. We are capable of deploying tags and loggers on wild birds, including geolocation tags, GPS tags, and accelerometers utilising a variety of methods such as leg attachments, leg-loop harnesses, suturing, and tail feather attachment;
  • Data analysisOSC ornithologists are supported by a team of data scientists and report writers, allowing for comprehensive project data analyses;
  • Report writing and guidanceOSC ornithologists are deeply familiar with regulations and directives surrounding wild birds in the UK and abroad. We can offer guidance and consultation to ensure regulatory compliance, as well as assist with internal and external report writing for project documentation; and,
  • Research – Our team includes published experts in scientific research, specialising in population demography, spatial ecology, and movement ecology of wild birds. We are capable of conducting tag analyses (movement modelling for geolocation or GPS data), spatial analyses (kernel density analyses, visualisation, habitat modelling), dive depth analyses, population modelling, general statistical modelling, and GIS, as well as producing high-quality peer-reviewed manuscripts in partnership with industry and conservation organisations. 

Our ornithological surveyors hold full offshore training requirements, including: 


  • OPITO/OLF/NOGEPA Basic Offshore Safety and Emergency Training (BOSIET); 
  • Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET); and, 
  • Compressed Air Emergency Breathing System (CA-EBS) initial deployment training.  

When involved in large industry projects, vessel-based staff are often required to have additional training, which can include: 

  • STCW 95 basic training; 
  • Minimum Industry Safety Training (MIST; and, 
  • Escape Chute Training. 


  • OGUK (UKOOA); and, 
  • Norwegian Continental Shelf.  

European Seabirds At Sea: 

  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)

OSC’s ornithological services are comprehensive, ranging from offshore decommissioning breeding bird surveys to population modelling with extant or collected data. Whatever the project—onshore or offshore, deployments for a few days or a few months, compliance reports or scientific research—our team can work with you to meet specific demands. Contact us for further information or to discuss your project-specific needs.    

error: Content is protected !!