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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.

Nest predation by crows, jays, chipmunks, weasels, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, snakes, small rodents, cats, and birds of prey is a common cause of nest failure. Observers often fear that increased predation may result from the observer leaving a track or scent-trail to nests. However, a two-year investigation of this possibility by the British Trust for Ornithology showed that nests visited frequently by humans had similar success rates as other nests left undisturbed between laying and fledging. Predation that is unrelated to human observers is common and consistent with the normal high annual mortality of songbird species. However, you should still do your best to avoid bringing attention to the nest, trampling vegetation surrounding a nest, or monitoring in inclement weather.

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Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology