Nesting Neighbours

Nuthatch. Photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Join our Nesting Neighbours project and help us improve our understanding of Britain's breeding birds. 

Nesting Neighbours participants follow the progress of individual bird nests through the spring and summer. They send their records to our database, contributing vital information to our understanding of birds' breeding success. 

Time / skill required

  • A few minutes each week to monitor the nests in your garden.
  • Able to access nests to count eggs and young, following the Code of Conduct.
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Anyone can take part in Nesting Neighbours, and it's easy to get started.

  • Find a nest in your garden or local park, or put up a nest box for birds to use.
  • Check the nest or nest box once a week over the spring and summer to record nest building, eggs or chicks.
  • Send us your records using our online form.

Find out more about taking part

Nesting Neighbours was previously called Nest Box Challenge. The survey was relaunched and renamed in 2020.

Code of Conduct

The welfare of our breeding birds is of utmost importance.

You must follow the Nesting Neighbours Code of Conduct. This will allow you a privileged and intimate insight into the lives of birds, without impacting the chicks or adult birds.

Please note that, due to differing legislation, it is necessary to apply for a licence prior to participating in Nesting Neighbours if you are in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.

Why take part in Nesting Neighbours?

Monitoring nests is a great way to learn about and understand birds. Seeing the process from nest build to successful fledging is fantastic. It’s amazing how dedicated and hard-working the adult pairs are in their roles. Matt, Nesting Neighbours Volunteer

Learn more about birds

Nesting Neighbours offers you an opportunity to enjoy the birds on your doorstep or in your local park in a unique way. You will learn a great deal about the lives of the birds around you, from the courtship behaviour and signs of nest-building to identifying baby birds and their parents. It's a great project to get children learning about birds, too. 

From watching the antics of nest building to laying of nine eggs, and seeing these hatch, I never expected our nest box would give so much joy and hope. Sarah, Nesting Neighbours Volunteer

Boost your wellbeing

Connecting to nature in this intimate, mindful way can be very rewarding. This type of connection can improve mood, help you relax and destress and even improve your physical health. 

Support our science

Gardens are really important habitats for wildlife. We need to understand how and why populations of garden birds and other wildlife are changing, and how we can help them. The information collected through Nesting Neighbours helps BTO scientists to build up a detailed picture of bird breeding success and what may be affecting it.

Help us continue our vital surveys

Increased pressure on funding is putting our surveys at risk, threatening our ability to drive positive change for the UK’s birds. We need your support.

Donate today

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