The Nest Record Scheme

Top: A Blackbird nest in a pub beer garden. Bottom left: checking a
Tit box. Bottom right: attending a nest recording course

The Nest Record Scheme (NRS) gathers vital information on the breeding success of Britain's birds by asking volunteers to find and follow the progress of individual birds' nests.

Anyone can be a nest recorder. Some people watch a single nest box in their back garden while others find and monitor nests of a whole range of species. Registering to take part is easy and there are lots of resources to help you get started—click the link below to find out more.

Find out how to take part in NRS

To monitor some specially protected species, it's necessary to obtain a Schedule 1 permit in addition to registering as a nest recorder.

As with all BTO surveys, the welfare of the birds comes first, and therefore all nest recorders follow the NRS Code of Conduct, a protocol designed to ensure that monitoring a nest does not influence its outcome.

The data collected for NRS are used to produce trends in breeding performance, which help us to identify species that may be declining because of problems at the nesting stage. These trends are are updated every year and published in the BirdTrends report. NRS data also allow us to measure the impacts of pressures such as climate change on bird productivity. Please see the results page for more information.

Barn Owl breeding forecast 2014

Leading Barn Owl expert Colin Shawyer provides nest recorders and ringers with his predictions for the 2014 breeding season

Latest NRS and CES results

Thanks to the efforts of Nest Record Scheme and Constant Effort Site participants, preliminary figures on the breeding season have been produced for over 25 species this year. See here for NRS results and here for CES results.

NRS mentoring launched

This spring sees the launch of the NRS Mentoring Scheme, designed to put new participants in touch with experienced mentors for guidance and training. For more details, see the mentoring web-page.

May 2013 NRS News

The latest edition of the Nest Record Scheme's annual newsletter is now available, containing the latest news and results from the survey as well as articles, tips and advice from recorders themselves. nrs [at] bto [dot] org (subject: Request%20paper%20copy%20of%20Nest%20Record%20News) (Email us) to request a copy, or download it here.

Field Guide to Monitoring Nests

A new 256-page BTO field guide, features concise notes on nest finding and quick-reference facts and figures for 145 British and Irish breeding species, is being published on 30th June. For more information and to get hold of your copy, please see here. If you're looking for a reference list of citations from the book, please see the 'Other useful literature' section here.

Free app for your Android smartphone

We've just launched an Android smartphone 'app' that allows ringers and nest recorders to look up species information such as correct ring size in the field. For more information and a free download, please see here.



The BTO would like to thank the network of volunteers who take part in the Nest Record Scheme. Without their hard work and enthusiasm the Trust would not be able to monitor the health of the UK’s breeding birds each year.