Nest Record Scheme logo

Project partners

British Trust for Ornithology logo
JNCC logo

Project partners

British Trust for Ornithology logo
JNCC logo

Nest Record Scheme

Long-tailed Tit nest. Photograph by Elspeth Rowe

The Nest Record Scheme gathers vital information on the breeding success of Britain's birds by asking volunteers to find and follow the progress of individual birds' nests.

Each year, hundreds of volunteers submit observations of nests they have monitored to the Nest Record Scheme. Their data are used to assess the impacts that changes in the environment, such as habitat loss and global warming, have on the number of fledglings that birds can rear. Anyone can be a nest recorder: some people watch a single nest box in their back garden while others find and monitor multiple nests of a whole range of species. As with all BTO surveys, the welfare of birds comes first and all nest recorders follow the NRS Code of Conduct, a protocol designed to ensure that monitoring a nest does not influence its outcome.

Time / skill required

  • A few minutes on a nest in a garden to a full time project in the field.
  • Count eggs and chicks in nests by following the Code of Conduct.

Project timeline

  • Early Feb -  look out for early nesters like Long-tailed Tit
  • Late Apr - most residents and migrants now nesting
  • Early Sep - still time for late nesters like Goldfinch and Woodpigeon
  • End Oct - records needed for early analysis of the season
  • End Jan - records needed for full analysis of the season


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