A Field Guide to Monitoring Nests is a new 256-page BTO publication for those monitoring nests for research and conservation, including volunteers for the BTO's Nest Record Scheme.
What's in the guide
145 individual species accounts, each one covering:
- Where the species breeds, with a UK distribution map and details on typical habitat and nest sites.
- Seasonality of breeding, with a timetable of when most birds are on eggs and chicks.
- Identification of eggs and young, with photographs.
- Species-specific nest finding methods and considerations.
Four introductory sections on the science and practice of nest monitoring:
- Fieldwork basics: when and where to look for nests, techniques for finding and monitoring.
- Wildlife legislation and BTO guidelines designed to protect nesting birds. See here (PDF, 1.69 MB) for a sample of this section.
- Why monitoring nests is important for bird conservation and how the BTO uses information collected.
- Taking part in the BTO's Nest Record Scheme.
An essential tool for nest recorders
A Field Guide to Monitoring Nests is the first BTO-published book to feature detailed nest finding methods for individual species. Its combination of concise notes and quick-reference facts and figures, together with expert advice and chapters on the basics, makes it an ideal field companion for both beginners and experienced nest recorders.
The need for a new guide
For years, the nest recorder’s 'bible' was Bruce Campbell and James Ferguson-Lees' A Field Guide to Birds’ Nests, which contained detailed species accounts and individual nest-finding tips. Last reprinted in 1972, copies of the book were proving hard to find by the late 2000s and its figures on timing of breeding were out-of-date.
In 2010, Mike Toms, Head of Garden Ecology at the BTO, and Dave Leech, Head of the Nest Record Scheme, contacted surviving author James Ferguson-Lees and invited him to co-author a new field guide with Richard Castell, who had recently co-authored the DVD guide Breeding Birds of Britain and Ireland.
The result is A Field Guide to Monitoring Nests, the first BTO published guide on the subject since Henry Mayer-Gross’ 1970 booklet Nest Record Scheme (BTO Guide 12).