Photo © Al Tuttle

Can my visits to the nest harm the birds or interfere with the nesting attempt?

This is unlikely if you are cautious while moving around the nest, and if you follow our Code of Conduct. Observers often fear that increased predation may result from the observer leaving a track or scent-trail to nests but recent studies have shown that nests visited frequently had a similar rate of success to others left undisturbed between laying and fledging. Birds, unlike many mammals which have a good sense of smell, will continue to care for their young after being disturbed. Also keep in mind that nest checks should not be made in inclement weather, and surrounding vegetation should not be disturbed.