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The Zoo is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Entry passes are required for all guests, including infants. Plan your visit.

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Resources for Participants

A researcher with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center talks to a mother and two young children about birds. They are seated around a table in their backyard with a tree and grass in the background.

Neighborhood Nestwatch participants enter a long-term relationship with the program and the birds that frequent their neighborhood. Repeat visits each year are necessary to meet both scientific and educational goals.

A typical backyard visit occurs on a spring or summer morning and begins not long after sunrise when birds are most active. A range of scientific activities are conducted during the visit, including a point-count bird census, netting and banding, nest finding, vegetation sampling, neighborhood re-sight forays and education.

Participants assist with many of these activities along the way, learning about avian natural history and the scientific process. They are mentored annually on recording and reporting their data, which contributes to a robust database and future publications.

Read more about Neighborhood Nestwatch in action, and listen to recordings from an actual backyard visit.

Participants may require the following references and data sheets when monitoring the birds in their backyard.

A small gray bird, called a gray catbird, standing on a rock
Help birds by following these simple steps to make your backyard and home bird friendly.
A cardinal nest with three blue, speckled eggs in a tree surrounded by green leaves
Following the life of a nest provides the opportunity to make an important scientific contribution but must be done very carefully.
A small, light-brown bird, called a house wren, perched on top of a man-made nesting box. The bird has purple, aluminum and white tracking bands around its legs.
Each year, hundreds of birds join the thousands that have already been color-banded in Nestwatch backyards and schoolyards.
A bright red bird, called a northern cardinal, perched in a tree with green leaves
Are you a Neighborhood Nestwatch participant? Submit your nest monitoring and bird re-sighting data to Smithsonian scientists here.