Photo © Keith Williams

June 2015 News


Get Bluebird Artwork From NestWatch

New this month, you can now download original artwork from NestWatch. This watercolor painting features an Eastern Bluebird pair feeding a fledgling at the nest box. For a small donation to NestWatch, this original artwork is available as a 1024 × 768 pixel download for your personal use. Use it as your computer or tablet background image, or print it and frame it.

Artist Luke Seitz, a rising junior at Cornell, is an active participant in the Cornell Lab’s student birding team and a Bartels Science Illustration Intern. This artwork is not available anywhere else, and is our “thank you” gift for your support. Gifts of $25 or more will also receive printed posters featuring unique artwork of nesting birds sent to you by mail.


New Face at NestWatch

We are so pleased to have a new team member on board! Meet Chelsea Benson, the new project assistant for NestWatch. Chelsea will also be supporting our sister project, Project FeederWatch. She will be responding to your emails and phone calls and helping to keep the website and social media pages up-to-date.

Chelsea comes to us with a background in environmental education. Chelsea has worked with schools, community organizations, and local governments in her previous positions, and has taught a wide variety of environmental topics. She has even incorporated citizen science into regional events like the Hudson Valley Regional Envirothon, and day programming for Mud Creek Environmental Learning Center.

Chelsea holds a dual B.A. in psychology and English, and an M.A. in Social Science, Environment, and Community. We know Chelsea will “hit the ground running” because she is also a distinguished track and field athlete. In the winter, she enjoys cross-country skiing.

We’re excited for Chelsea to bring her energy and enthusiasm to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, where she’ll no doubt mobilize even more people to monitor bird nests (and bird feeders) for science. Welcome, Chelsea!


Identify Bird Photos With New Tool

Merlin, the Cornell Lab’s popular bird ID app, has spawned a new tool called Merlin Bird Photo ID, and you can help test it out! Just upload a photo, click on the bird’s bill, eye, and tail, and let computer vision help you ID the bird. It currently recognizes 400 common North American bird species. Because it’s powered by machine learning techniques, it gets “smarter” the more people use it. Try it now as a webpage, and help improve the accuracy so this new feature can be added to the Merlin Bird ID app. Try Merlin Bird Photo ID now.


Hawaii, We Want Your Nests

Do you live in the state of Hawaii? Do you know of any bird nests? If so, you can win a prize just for being the first person to submit a valid nest record from Hawaii. The winner will receive a two-disc audio guide to Hawaii’s birds and a Cornell Lab of Ornithology insulated cooler bag.


Our Photo Contest Returns July 1

Our inaugural photo contest, called Home Tweet Home, was a huge success last year. We received 731 photos of 145 species, and many new people were introduced to NestWatch through the contest.

This year the contest will run again throughout the month of July, so brush up on our photographer’s guidelines, grab your camera, and start photographing nests. Prizes this year will include nest box cameras from Birdhouse Spy Cam, the new book Into the Nest by Laura Erickson and Marie Read, and other great nest-centric prizes. The contest opens on July 1; watch our website for contest entry instructions and official rules.