How to report on Schedule 1 sites using nest records

If it is a condition of your Schedule 1 permit that you submit an annual return to the BTO, you can now use nest records to report on all your sites: sites with breeding attempts, sites with non-breeding adults, sites that are unoccupied, and sites that haven't been visited. If you complete nest records for all the sites you monitor, you will not need to submit a separate Schedule 1 Licence Report.

Below is a step-by-step guide to completing a single nest record for a Schedule 1 site. If you have any questions about using nest records to report on your Schedule 1 sites, please nrs [at] (subject: Query%20about%20completing%20nest%20records%20for%20Sch1%20purposes) (contact us).


1. Getting set up for nest recording

Before you complete any nest records, please ensure you've done the following:

  1. Register with NRS. Like with all BTO surveys, we need people taking part in the Nest Record Scheme to register. Please complete a , even if you already have a ringing permit.
  2. Read the and the Code of Conduct. Reading these two very brief documents (7 pages in total) will familiarise you with the basics of nest recording: how to ensure bird welfare when visiting nests, what to record and how to use the NRS codes.
  3. Install IPMR. Paper cards are still available if you would rather use them (they are sent when you register), but we recommend that all nest recorders use the recording software 'IPMR'. Please visit the IPMR page to find out how to download and install the software on your PC. For comprehensive guidance on using IPMR for nest recording, please .


    New IPMR version 2.6 needed
    Click to install/upgrade


  4. Set up IPMR for nest recording. Even if you are already using IPMR, you need to do these two things to access the nest recording functionality:

    • Enter your NRS observer code. To do this, go to the 'Setup' main menu and select 'Owner details'.

    • Make sure that all relevant 'Place' records are ticked for nest recording. To do this, visit your Places list, select a given Place record and make sure the 'Nest recording' place usage box is ticked.


2. Recording species, location and habitat information

Once you're ready to begin a nest record, either on card or using IPMR, the first thing you should do is record details about the site location and habitat. These details can be recorded in the same way whether you're monitoring an active nest or reporting on an unoccupied site:

  • Species. The species that is nesting or the target species you are monitoring (for example if the site is unoccupied)
  • Year. The season in which the site is being monitored.
  • Nest site location. The grid reference, site name and county.
  • Nest site habitat. The habitat types in the immediate vicinity of the nest. These are described using codes.
  • Nest site details. For example the height of the nest site, whether it's in a tree or on a pole etc.
Guidance on how to record this information, including how to use habitat codes, is given in the and the , with more details being given in the

NRS Handbook

NRS Handbook (PDF, 1.59 MB)


3. Recording what activity you saw at the nest site

Information about what activity you saw at the nest site—whether a nesting attempt, the presence of one or more adults, or an unoccupied site—can be recorded in the nest visits section of the record. What to put down and what activity codes to use differs depending on the circumstances, so please click the links below to be taken to relevant instructions:


4. Submitting nest records to the BTO

Please submit completed nest records to the BTO at the end of the breeding season. With cards, please ensure your observer code is written on each card and send them to The Nest Record Scheme, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU. With IPMR, nest records can be emailed to the BTO in a submission fileguidance on how to do this is on page 28 of the .

Remember: if submitting a Schedule 1 return is a condition of your licence, your renewal application will not be processed until you've sent in the return.


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