About the Nest Record Scheme

Nest monitoring at BTO began in 1939. Since that date, thousands of volunteers have participated and we now receive over 35,000 records each year. This data gives us invaluable information about our breeding birds, helping us track changes in breeding success and correlate these with changes in the wider environment.

History of the Scheme

The Hatching and Fledgling Inquiry was started by the BTO in 1939 to collect information on facets of basic breeding biology, such as incubation and fledging periods. This scheme started just a few years after the BTO was founded in 1933, and is one of the original schemes along with Ringing and the Heronries Survey. Initially, there were around 20 participants, and in the first five years, 1,988 nest record cards were sent in. We now receive upwards of 35,000 records each year from over 600 participants. 

The survey we have today is a product of the BTO’s unwavering commitment to citizen science and the dedication of more than 4,000 volunteers who have participated through the years.

Celebrating 75 Years of nest recording

On 30 March 2014, we held a 75th-anniversary celebratory conference where 80 NRS volunteers came to the BTO HQ. The theme of the meeting was 'Passing on the baton of nest recording: a celebration of 75 years of NRS'. The day featured a series of talks by nest recorders themselves, highlighting the immensity of volunteer effort that has made the Scheme possible, delving into inspiring current projects, and examining how we can train a new generation of nest recorders.

The NRS Team

Lee Barber

Nest Record Scheme Organiser

Hazel McCambridge

Scheme Support Officer

Carl Barimore

Database Officer

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