Join the Nestwatch Program

Have you ever wondered if the house wren in your nest box is successfully raising young or if the cardinal nesting in your front yard was there last year? Are these and other backyard birds we see every day thriving or dwindling under increasing land use development? Nestwatch invites you to participate in answering these critical questions.

Nestwatch is a citizen-science program that forges a bond among scientists, the public, and the backyard birds that frequent your yard and neighborhood. Through annual summer visits to urban, suburban, and rural backyards like yours, participants and their families receive coaching on how to monitor and report data on nests of common backyard birds.

In addition, participants help capture, measure, and band backyard birds as well as track their presence from year to year. By participating in the project, you will also be an important part of an educational study seeking to determine the effectiveness of informal education experiences.

If you live within 60 miles of Washington, D.C., take a naturalist’s journey into the mysterious lives of birds surrounding your home and join more than 200 citizen scientists making significant contributions to our knowledge of backyard wildlife.

Want to Participate?

If you are interested in joining the program, sign up for the wait list. We will contact you if space becomes available.

Sign up for the Nestwatch Program Wait List

Waitlist is full.

Thanks for your interest in the Nestwatch program.

Wait-listed? Just want to contribute data?

If you have been put on the wait-list or even if you don't actually want to sign up as a participant but still want to contribute to the program, Neighborhood Nestwatch will gladly accept data on carefully monitored nests from "At-Large" participants.

Although Nestwatch staff won't visit your property to band birds and teach you how to monitor nests, we provide online nest monitoring guidelines that will enable you to enter nest data.

For the sake of bird populations, it is very important that monitoring complies with established protocols. For this reason, in order to become an "At-Large" participant we ask that you read the nest monitoring guidelines then follow the link at the end to take a brief quiz. Once you have answered all of the questions correctly, you will be asked for contact information and your address to get you signed up.

As a reminder, the Neighborhood Nestwatch program is confined to the area within a 75-mile radius of Washington, D.C.

→ Nest Monitoring Guidelines