Bird nest monitoring has become a very important tool in the arsenal for biologists and ornithologists who study bird populations. And the good news is that you can help by joining Nest Watch, a citizen science project by Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
NestWatch welcomes data for all North American birds. Participants submit data about which kinds of birds are nesting, the number of eggs laid, dates eggs were laid, and the numbers of chicks hatched and fledged. Collecting this information across the continent over long periods of time is one of the best ways we have to detect widespread changes in breeding bird biology.
Why is Nest Monitoring Important?
Nesting birds are vulnerable to changes in the environment, including climate change. Data show some species, like the Tree Swallow, are laying their eggs more than a week earlier than they did just a few decades ago. That could spell big trouble if hatch dates get out of sync with the availability of food.
Projects like NestWatch provide scientists with a large database which tracks population and reproductive success. This information helps them to determine what factors may be contributing to a species decline.
This data is much more valuable when all the records are completed in the same way. That’s where NestWatch comes in. Each participant will submit information about the nests in their Ecosystem Garden in the same manner.
This is a great way to get your kids involved in helping scientists. Many classroom teachers are participating in the project as a way of teaching a hands-on approach to learning science.
It’s also a great way for you to get in tune with the rhythms of your garden. If you keep a Garden Journal, you will be able to see any changes that may occur over time in your own garden.
Helping Birds in Your Wildlife Garden
Here’s some tips for helping birds in your wildlife habitat garden
- Creating Rest Stops for Migratory Birds in Your Ecosystem Garden
- The Right Cup of Coffee can help Save Bird Habitat
- One Third of US birds in danger. How your Wildlife Garden can help
In my garden, the birds are already quite busy. The Chickadees, Titmice, Robins, Cardinals, Woodpeckers, and Wrens are already hard at work building their nests.