Guidance and training

Whether you are new to nest recording, or looking to learn more about monitoring nests, we have a number of resources available to help you develop your skills. If you are just getting started visit the Taking Part page for more information.

NRS Handbook

The NRS Handbook provides guidance and information to support nest recorders in their monitoring activities.

Code of Conduct

Make yourself familiar with the Code of Conduct and review it annually before each nest recording season.

When to find and monitor nests

General guidance about the timing of nest recording activities throughout the calendar year. 

How to find nests

Tips and techniques for finding nests to monitor as well as advice about approaching nests.

Planning your visits

Learn how to plan and space your nest recording visits to capture the most useful information.

Collecting data at the nest

Learn what information you need to record at the nest and how to use NRS codes to do this.

Useful equipment

A few basic pieces of equipment will help you make the most of your nest recording activities.


A Nest Record Scheme mentor can help you get started with nest recording.

They can also give you guidance and advice on finding and monitoring nests of particular species or in a particular habitat.

Training courses

Every spring we run training courses on how to find and monitor nests, led by an experienced nest finder.

They include tutorials on different nest-finding techniques and lots of time for supervised practice, ideal for beginners and more seasoned nest recorders alike.

  • Courses usually run in May and are available to anyone signed up to the Nest Record Scheme.
  • If you are signed up for the Nest Record Scheme you will receive an email in January or February to let you know when the courses will be available to book.

Nest Recorders Forum

The NRS forum is a place for volunteers to discuss topics of interest, ask for help or advice from the wider community and provide updates on how the season is going.

To access the forum you will need to be logged in to your MyBTO account.

Please note: this forum will not be used to send out essential updates from the Ringing and Nest Recording Team. These will be sent via email.


LifeCycle is a free BTO magazine for nest recorders and ringers, although anyone is welcome to read it!

It includes practical ringing and nest-finding tips, details of novel techniques the latest NRS news and results. It also contains summaries of successful monitoring projects to showcase the work of our volunteers and inspire new projects. 

You will find plenty of useful information about a variety of nest recording topics to help you develop your nest recording skills and learn about other nest recording projects. 

Get in touch

Can’t find the information you need?

We’d love to hear from you.

You can reach us at
nrs [at]

Meet the NRS team

Discover our expert nest recording team.

NRS Code of Conduct

NRS volunteers should read and review the Code of Conduct annually, to minimise the risk to nesting birds.

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