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British Trust for Ornithology The Nest Record Scheme

Main Project Information
Goal Gather information on breeding success of Britain's birds.
Task Find and follow the progress of individual bird nests.
Where U.K.

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

The data collected are used to produce trends in breeding performance, which help us to identify species that may be declining because of problems at the nesting stage. These trends are published on the BTO website and are updated every year. NRS data also allow us to measure the impacts of pressures such as climate change on bird productivity.

Anyone can be a nest recorder. Some people watch a single nest box in their back garden while others spend hundreds of hours finding and monitoring nests in the wider countryside.

How to Join

1. Decide which bird survey is right for you. Visit the Core surveys ( and More surveys ( pages for a summary of each survey and the skill level and time committment required.

2. When you’ve chosen a survey. Visit the survey’s home page to find out more about what is involved.

3. Develop your bird watching skills. The BTO can help you develop your birdwatching skills and teach you the skills required to participate in our surveys. We run training courses each year where you can learn bird id and the skills required to participate in bird surveys. We also run training courses aimed at intermediate birdwatchers to help them develop their skills further.

For tips on how to identify British birds, visit our bird ID pages ( A new species will be featured here each month.

Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity While fishing, On a hike, At home, On a walk, run, At school, At a science center, zoo or aquarium
Tags bird, breeding bird, nest, surveys, united kingdom
Project Updated 05/23/2018