Nesting Neighbours

Nuthatch. Photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Nesting Neighbours gathers valuable data on breeding birds by asking volunteers to monitor the birds in their garden and local area through the breeding season

Nesting Neighbours is a survey about birds' nests in your garden and local area. Whether it's a Blue Tit nest in a box, a Blackbird in a shrub or a House Martin nest under the eaves of your house, all you need do is monitor at least one nest by watching or inspecting it at regular intervals (following the Code of Conduct) and then record what you see online. Your information is then used by BTO to build up a detailed picture of bird breeding success and what may be affecting it.  

Quick pointers

  • If you've signed up to the Nest Record Scheme please don't also sign up to Nesting Neighbours. 
  • Birds' nests are often unsuccessful but it's essential we know about these ones too, so please record whatever you see. You can also record when a nest box hasn't been used.
  • Try to keep an eye out until at least August. Nest boxes are sometimes used more than once and birds like Robin, Blackbird and Collared Dove will often have two or even three nests over the spring and summer.
  • Nesting Neighbours was previously called Nest Box Challenge. The survey was relaunched and renamed in 2020.

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.

Join the project

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Project timeline, contributions & findings

Project timeline

  • February - Make sure Nest Boxes are in place as birds start to look for a safe place to raise their brood
  • March - Some garden birds such as Blackbirds will start nesting
  • April - June - Many garden birds including Blue and Great Tits will nest during this time
  • September - Nest boxes should be cleaned out before the end of January ready for the following Spring 

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