Nesting opportunities are often lacking in gardens, especially those associated with the presence of natural cavities. Even so, our gardens still support a large number of nesting birds and, in some cases, they hold important breeding populations of species of conservation concern.
Because of this, we really need to know which species are breeding in our gardens, in what numbers and when. Such information is difficult to collect through annual monitoring projects, such as the Breeding Bird Survey, as these gardens are in private ownership and you cannot just poke your head over the fence to see what they contain! This is where projects like the Garden Nesting Survey come in.
We first carried out the Garden Nesting Survey in 2000, the idea coming from John Tully and Richard Bland - who ran the survey in its initial years. We then decided that 2010 was the ideal time to rerun the survey, overlapping with the Bird Atlas 2007-11 project and allowing Garden BirdWatchers and others to contribute breeding records to the atlas from gardens across Britain & Ireland. We are very grateful to the John Spedan Lewis Foundation and Gardenature (who helped to fund the set up of this survey.