Monitor your Box
Boxes in gardens - Nest Box Challenge
Nest Box Challenge was first launched during National Nest Box Week 2007. Thousands of people kept an eye on the birds in their gardens and provided unique national insights into the private lives of species such as Blue Tits and Robins. Nest Box Challenge will be on-line in early spring so why not take part! By collecting information about nest boxes, their locations and the birds that use them, we hope to learn even more about the species for which we provide homes.
It is essential to minimise disturbance at nests for both ethical and scientific reasons. When nest recording, it is vital that observations do not jeopardise the safety of the nest. All nest recorders should follow the ‘NRS Code of Conduct’ outlined in the ‘NRS Handbook’ (provided in the free ‘NRS Starter Pack’). The Code gives practical advice on avoiding the three main risks when visiting nests: accidental damage, causing desertion and revealing nests to predators.
Larger nest box projects - Nest Record Scheme
Think that Nest Box Challenge is a great idea? Wondering why no one has thought of looking at nesting birds before, or why we only look interested in nests in boxes? In fact, the BTO has been collecting detailed records of nesting birds for over 60 years! Since 1939, keen ornithologists have been sending in their observations to the BTO’s Nest Record Scheme.
What is the Nest Record Scheme?
- Nest Record Scheme (NRS), is a national survey aimed at monitoring the breeding performance of Britain’s birds, in which over 500 volunteers take part each year.
- Over 1.25 million nest records have been received by the BTO since the Scheme began, and we are currently sent over 30,000 more each year.
- In total, the nests of 232 species have been recorded since the NRS began.
- Whereas Nest Box Challenge is aimed at monitoring nest boxes in your back gardens or local green space, the Nest Record Scheme participants follow the breeding attempts of all our wild breeding birds wherever they find them.
- The information recorded is almost identical to that collected for Nest Box Challenge – we want to know what species built the nest, where it is and what sort of habitat it’s in, and we also ask participants to record the number of eggs and chicks at regular intervals throughout the breeding season.
- The information is recorded on standard paper forms, and the Nest Record Scheme Handbook gives information on how to fill them in.
So, if you’ve found a nest that isn’t in a nest box – a Song Thrush in a hedge or a Collared Dove in a tree, – perhaps you’d like to monitor it. Have a look at the Nest Record Scheme web-pages to find out how you can take part!