As the nationwide lockdown continues, many of us are watching the wildlife in our gardens more closely than ever before. Some people feel they are hearing much more birdsong. Might this mean that our birds are having a better breeding season? The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) wants you to find and monitor the nests in your garden to help find out.
If you have a nest box in your garden, you might have noticed Blue Tits or Great Tits going in and out. Perhaps you have noticed a Blackbird carrying grass or moss into your bushes? Why not spend some time quietly watching, or carefully searching the undergrowth, to see if you can find an active nest?
If you do find a nest in your garden you can take part in Nesting Neighbours, a scheme organised by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). By collecting information on breeding success you’ll help BTO to understand the impacts of factors such as climate change and food availability on the number of young produced and the influence this then has on population trends. Participation is therefore very valuable as well as rewarding.
By recording what is in the nest every five days or so, you can collect valuable information on laying dates, clutch and brood sizes and the number of breeding attempts that result in fledged young. Scientific studies have shown that, as long as observers are careful and follow the BTO's Code of Conduct, making several visits to a nest to record the contents does not increase the probability of it failing.
Hazel McCambridge, BTO Nesting Neighbours Organiser, said, “Monitoring the nests of familiar garden birds gives you an intimate insight into their lives, which is very rewarding. It also allows conservationists to understand how birds in built up areas fare compared to those nesting in woods and farmland; do the warmer temperatures in towns result in earlier laying, do parents benefit from the food we put out, and are the chicks less exposed to predators? You can help to answer these questions and more by looking in your garden boxes, shrubs and hedges, and let us know what you find!”
To take part, please visit: https://www.bto.org/nesting-neighbours
(BTO Nesting Neighbours Organiser)
Email: nesting.neighbours [at] bto.org
(BTO Media Manager)
Email: press [at] bto.org
Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Scientific studies have shown that, as long as observers are careful and follow the BTO's Code of Conduct, making several visits to a nest to record the contents does not increase the probability of desertion
It is completely legal to look inside a nest in England, Scotland and Wales as long as you do not touch the contents and the species is not included on the list of scarce protected birds. If you are in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, you must apply for a licence prior to monitoring a nest of any species. A separate licence is needed for photographing nests.
Blue Tits are our most reported on nest box species. To find out more about when to expect Blue Tits to be nesting visit the Blue Tit Diary.
The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations. www.bto.org