Monitoring nests

Collecting information on birds’ breeding success by monitoring nests, whether in your garden or out in the wider countryside, is a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience that provides incredibly valuable data to support our conservation efforts.

You can take part through one of two free surveys, Nesting Neighbours or the Nest Record Scheme.

The information from both surveys helps us build up a detailed picture of the impacts of environmental changes such as habitat loss and climate change on the number of fledglings that birds can rear.

As the data from the surveys are combined, it really is down to your personal preference which one you choose.

Nesting Neighbours

Nesting Neighbours is ideal if you are new to nest monitoring and want to record a small number of nests in your garden. The simple online form allows you to record the number of eggs and chicks you see throughout each nesting attempt, and you need only spend a few minutes each week collecting the information.

Go to Nesting Neighbours

Nest Record Scheme

The Nest Record Scheme (NRS) is ideal if you want to monitor larger numbers of nests across multiple locations. You still record nest contents at regular intervals but you can add more detail, give more precise nest locations via a map or using a grid reference and there are more tools available for summarising your data.

Go to the Nest Record Scheme

Blue Tit chicks in nest. Mike Mainwairing
Blue Tit chicks in the nest. Mike Mainwairing 

More information and benefits

As a Nesting Neighbours volunteer, you will receive a fortnightly e-newsletter with lots of information about garden nesting birds and how to monitor their nests during the nesting season.

If you decide to join the NRS, you will receive a bi-annual copy of our magazine LifeCycle containing updates on the survey, articles by volunteer ringers and nest recorders on their monitoring projects and activities, as well as practical tips and advice. 

To participate in either survey

  • You will need to follow our Code of Conduct to make sure that monitoring a nest does not have an impact on the adult birds or nestlings.

Buying a nest box from a reputable retailer

BTO is proud to work in partnership with leading bird-care company Vine House Farm, with the shared aim of making a positive impact for birds.

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