About Neighborhood Nestwatch

The Smithsonian's Neighborhood Nestwatch program provides an opportunity to be a biologist in your own backyard. Participants learn about birds and help scientists solve critical questions regarding the survival of backyard bird populations.

To understand how backyard bird populations are faring, Neighborhood Nestwatch focuses on two main questions:

  • How successful are backyard bird nests?
  • How long do backyard birds live?

Watching Nests

Neighborhood Nestwatch volunteers work with scientists to find and monitor bird nests and to record and report their observations. Scientists are especially interested in comparing how successful nests are in urban, suburban, and rural backyards.

Watching Birds

Scientists from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center have been marking birds with a unique combination colored plastic leg bands so that individual birds can be identified. Participants keep a watchful eye out throughout the year to identify "their" birds and to report their sightings.

Neighborhood Nestwatch participants → Log in to enter your data.


Participant Perceptions. Participants have discovered much about the lives and habits of the birds seen every day and have involved their children in a hands-on learning experience. → Participant Survey

Urban Bird Ecology. Neighborhood Nestwatch has already learned a lot about backyard birds in the Washington, D.C. area.

→ Read about our research findings.

Neighborhood Nestwatch was conceived and is directed by Dr. Peter P. Marra of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, D.C.

More about Neighborhood Nestwatch