NestWatch Data in Action: Graduate students study impact of climate change on birds
Amber Lankford and Joe Holbrook, graduate students at the University of Idaho, are using NestWatch data to determine if and how changes in first egg-laying dates of Mountain Bluebirds are associated with changes in climate. Specifically, they are evaluating how lay date changes with precipitation and warmer spring temperatures, as well as with latitude and elevation. Amber and Joe hope to better understand how climate affects bluebird nesting and how this could change in the future. They selected Mountain Bluebirds as their species of interest because of the species’ social and cultural importance to the people of Idaho. Also, this species has one of the longest and most complete breeding datasets in the NestWatch database among those that occur in Idaho. The ultimate goal of the project is to expand beyond Mountain Bluebirds to examine how lay date changes in other species, such as Mountain Chickadee, Tree Swallow, and House Wren. This is a perfect example of why your participation in NestWatch matters. Simply put, your observations make research projects such as this one possible. Amber and Joe send you their sincerest thanks!