Breeding status codes

Recording of breeding birds requires observation of a bird's behaviour and attribution to one of a number of breeding status codes. For some fieldworkers this meant a new approach to birds—putting the 'watching' back into 'birdwatching'. For the last couple of decades, much of the emphasis has focused on identification of species, usually via the minutiae of feather detail, and some surveyors had not been used to listening to birds' song or calls, or to observing their behaviour. Some people also have an abhorrence of approaching birds' nests. But there is no need to disturb a nest to record confirmed breeding, as most of the two-letter codes are indirect measures showing that a bird has eggs or chicks.

Not breeding
(not mapped)
O Bird Observed (seen or heard); no more knowledge of the species' status or of habitat suitable for breeding
Possible breeding
(mapped with small dots)
H Species present in suitable nesting Habitat; no other indication of breeding
S Singing male heard, or breeding calls heard
Probable breeding
(mapped with medium dots)
P Pair observed in suitable nesting habitat
D Display or courtship
N Bird visiting a probable Nest site
B Birds seen Building a nest, carrying nesting material, or excavating nest cavity
A Agitated behaviour or anxiety calls from adults suggesting a nest or young nearby
I Active brood patch on trapped bird, probably Incubating
Confirmed breeding
(mapped with large dots)
DD Distraction Display or injury-feigning from adults
UN Recently Used Nest (used this season), or egg-shells
ON Occupied Nest in use (e.g. high nest or nest-hole whose contents cannot be deduced)
FY Adults carrying Food for Young
RF Recently Fledged young, still dependent on parents
FS Adults carrying Faecal Sac away from nest site
NE Nest with Eggs, or adult sitting on nest
NY Nest with Young, or downy young of nidifugous species