Reading University urban tit study needs volunteers

Photo: Arnstein Rønning

Photo: Arnstein Rønning

The University of Reading is recruiting volunteers to help them with a nest box study on blue and great tits starting this April and lasting until late June.

There are an estimated five million nest boxes in UK gardens that are mainly used by blue and great tits. Many birds have been affected by tree loss and little is known how urban living affects their breeding success or nesting habits.

“I intend to monitor their breeding attempts and once they finish breeding I’ll remove their nests to study their construction,” said Hugh Hanmer, a PhD student working on the project.

The People and Wildlife Research Group at the university needs Reading garden owners who already have, or soon will have, nest boxes suitable for blue and great tits. The boxes need to be cleaned out before the breeding season and must be accessible for monitoring by a member of the research group. The used nests will be removed once the birds leave, and bird seed and feeders may be provided during the study.

“Even if you don’t have any nest boxes yourself, or aren’t interested in taking part but know someone in Reading who is, please pass my contact details on to them as I am after as many urban or suburban nest samples as possible,” said Hugh.

If you are interested in taking part, then email Hugh Hanmer at or telephone him on 0118 378 5467.


  1. Urban birds need your help!
  2. People and Wildlife Research Group
  3. Hugh Hanmer

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