Project status

Bird conservation in the UK  

ZSL looks to protect rare and threatened native birds and to improve the health of their populations. Many of the UK’s species have been in decline, and are in need of conservation attention.  

We’re working to protect native birds in the UK.  

Bird conservation with native bird reintroduction programmes 

ZSL’s DRAHS (Disease Risk Analysis and Health Surveillance) project is working on the health of white-tailed eagle, red kite, hen harrier, red-backed shrike, corncrake and Eurasian curlew reintroduction programmes in England.  We assess the risks of disease before reintroduction (conservation translocation) programmes start, monitor the health of birds during reintroduction, and carry out post-release health surveillance.

Find out information about the work of DRAHS.

A corncrake having a healthcheck
Two women carrying corncrakes to release them into the wild

Bird conservation with Garden Wildlife Health 

ZSL scientists are studying the effects of supplementary feeding on garden bird health through the Garden Wildlife Health project. Garden birds are commonly affected by outbreaks of disease, so we also carry out research to better understand and limit the impact of these outbreaks.  

Find out more about the Garden Wildlife Health project 

Puffin Tagging for bird conservation  

The puffin is one of the UK’s most abundant seabirds, but its populations have declined. ZSL conservationists carried out work with geo-locator tags in Skellig Michael, West Kerry, Ireland, to track their huge overwinter migrations across the Atlantic Ocean and provided insight into what might be causing the decline.

  • 1000
    of corncrakes bred at Whipsnade for release between 2004 and 2015
  • Corncrake Breeding  

    The corncrake is the only globally threatened bird to breed regularly in the UK and started to disappear from the English countryside more than a century ago. From 2000-2015, ZSL played a key role in the breeding of corncrakes to be released into RSPB reserves.  

    Find out more about our work in the UK and Europe 

    Key species 

    • Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) 

    • Corncrake (Crex crex) 


    Urgent action to stop the devastation of critical species and habitats by helping people and wildlife live better together, is the only way to save the natural world we love and depend upon. That’s where ZSL comes in, and where you can play your part.