Photo © Keith Williams

April 2012 News

Signs of Spring Challenge

Celebrate spring by entering the latest Celebrate Urban Birds Challenge. Take a walk outside and notice signs of spring: a robin with a beak full of worms or nesting material, a goldfinch becoming bright yellow again, birds returning from their winter migration, courting behavior, a spring song, a new nest, young birds learning to fly, and more. Share your observations with Celebrate Urban Birds. Be creative! Take a photo, create a dance, do some artwork, shoot video, write a story or a poem, or create a sculpture. Just show or describe signs of spring. Win great prizes! Submit your entries by May 1. Learn more.

NestWatch Data Entry Q&A

As many of you know, we recently launched our brand new data entry system. Our goal is to make entering NestWatch data much easier than ever before. But, also as many of you know, we’re experiencing some inevitable growing pains as part of this process. Through the iterative process in which you ask questions and we refine the system accordingly, we will ultimately be able to provide you with the best data entry system for your needs. Here are some common questions that we’ve been asked:

How do I start entering data?

Go to the “Your Data” page and click on “Add New Nest Site” to record a new nesting location. Enter the nearest address, or fill in the nest’s coordinates and click “Go.” Next, fill in the relevant descriptive information and click “Save.” Once you have created a nest site, there are three ways to access it: 1) the “View Nest Site” list, 2) the “Your Nest” map, or 3) the “Recent Attempts” list. Choose the method that works best for you! Once you find the desired nest, click on the icons below it to: 1) Add/Edit Attempt (start or continue entering data for a nest), 2) View Site Summary (see all data ever recorded for that nest), or 3) Manage Location (improve the accuracy of that location or modify its description).

How do I relocate nests that are in the wrong location?

A major advantage of our new system is that you can now easily see where your nests are located on a map. If a nest is in the wrong location, click on the “Manage Location” icon for that nest and then click on “Improve Location Accuracy.” You can then enter new coordinates or position the mouse cursor over the nest on the map, hold down the mouse button, and drag the nest to the proper location. Be sure to click “Save” when you’re finished.

How can I organize my nests?

Use the “Manage Your Groups” feature to organize your nests into distinct groupings. You can then filter your nests by specific groups in the “View Your Nest List” or on the “Your Nest Map.” Because we are now listing all nest names alphabetically, you may have to slightly modify your nest names to have them listed in the proper order. If nest names have both letters and numbers, they all should have the same number of digit place holders. For example, “Nest 1,” “Nest 2,” and “Nest 10” sort alphabetically as “Nest 1,” “Nest 10,” “Nest 2.” For them to be listed sequentially, they should be renamed as “Nest 01,” “Nest 02,” “Nest 10.”

Why doesn’t my 2012 Quick Summary match my observations?

The numbers of eggs, fledglings, and success rate witnessed in your 2012 Quick Summary is currently based on the information entered under the “Summarize Attempt” tab and not on your individual visit entries. Therefore, the number of eggs in your nests will not be included in your Quick Summary tally until you fill out the nest summary information. However, due to popular demand, in the near future we will be converting the Quick Summary to display real-time information.

Coming soon…

  • Downloadable spreadsheets of your data
  • Improved navigation after you save a nest visit
  • Ability to archive and delete nest sites
  • Group membership option when creating an account
  • The rest of the new NestWatch website (home page, educational articles, data exploration, and more!)

We Need Your Help!

Your generous donations help make the continued existence of NestWatch possible. They support ongoing efforts to improve the project, such as our new website and the NestWatch local chapters program. If you enjoy participating in NestWatch please consider making a small contribution. We suggest an annual participant donation of $10, but for slightly larger amounts you will receive beautiful NestWatch posters. Our newly updated Cavity-nesting Birds poster, featuring colored drawings of 10 species commonly found in nest boxes, breeding information, and nest-box placement tips, is available for just $30. We sincerely appreciate your kindness! Thank you for your contributions to science and the birds!

Monthly Winner

At the beginning of each month, NestWatch randomly selects one participant to receive a copy of the NestWatch Common Nesting Birds of North America poster. This month’s lucky winner is Dianne Kosmala. Congratulations, Dianne!