This year we’re asking NestWatchers to accept our challenge to find one nest of a species you’ve never monitored before. For inspiration, we illustrated five beloved backyard birds that nest near people. Download and print the images as a reminder, and read on to learn how to find the nests of these “outside the box” nesters.
On a farm in Ohio, middle school students are learning about bluebirds and other cavity-nesting birds by monitoring nests for NestWatch. Kate Anderson told us how Operation Bluebird got its start, and offers a model that other land trusts and conservation organizations can use to introduce youth to birds and citizen science.
What do bluebirds and fall foliage have in common? It turns out, quite a lot! Our guest student blogger uses her artist’s eye to spot surprising similarities in nature that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Birds don’t choose where to place a nest arbitrarily…they rely on signals from the environment, such as cavity size, food availability, and abundance of predators nearby. But sometimes those signals become uncoupled from actual habitat quality. Learn how you can reduce the risk of setting an “ecological trap.”
It took just four years to answer the decades-old question of “Are predator guards on nest boxes actually helpful?” With the power of citizen science, NestWatchers helped us use the best science available in a national study of cavity-nesting birds.
Do cavity-nesting birds prefer to reuse nests, or do they like a fresh start? The answer is not clear-cut, and a lot depends on the species and the geographic location.
In May 2017, Jason Estep of Ohio witnessed something incredibly rare, or at least, rarely seen. An Eastern Bluebird female consistently sat in the old nest of an American Robin over an eight day period. Although the nest was too high to glimpse the contents, it is thought that she was incubating eggs. But Jason isn’t the only one to find this kind of oddity this year.
Last summer, NestWatcher Melissa Sherwood surprised us with the first ever report of a Dark-eyed Junco nesting in an enclosed nest box. Well, this year, Denise Hamilton joins the exclusive club of people who have observed this rare behavior.
Not only do humans self-medicate with aromatic herbs such as lavender, mint, and sage—it turns out that birds also utilize pungent plants in their nests.
Whether for camouflage or parasite reduction, or due to cold weather or nest site competition, not building a nest can certainly have its perks. Meet five species that skip nest building.