Are you ready for a solid month of gorgeous photos of nests, eggs, and chicks? The annual NestWatch photo contest, Home Tweet Home, returns July 1 and runs throughout the month. This year’s contest features a new category, Eye Witness, in addition to our favorites: Nests & Eggs, Cutest Baby, and Feeding Time. Our newest category will highlight novel and/or interesting behaviors captured by observant (and lucky) citizen scientists. The Eye Witness category will feature documentary-style photographs, and we also encourage you to submit your nest cam captures (from your own cams; no Internet screenshots please). This category is meant to feature scientifically interesting or rarely-seen nesting behaviors and will be judged on technical interest rather than photographers’ skill.
Review our photographer’s guidelines, grab your camera, and get out there! Prizes include a nest box with a camera pre-installed from Spy On a Bird, a gift certificate from Wild Birds Unlimited, new books from the Cornell Lab Publishing Group, and other great swag from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Also, everyone who enters a submission this year will get a free Lab calendar, “A Year With Birds,” just for participating!
The contest opens July 1; watch our website for contest entry instructions and official rules.
Wildlife rehabilitator and artist, Julie Zickefoose’s newest endeavor, Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest, documents the daily growth of 17 different species from newly-emerged, naked hatchlings to fully-feathered rambunctious fledglings. The book features more than 400 watercolor paintings that illustrate the swift day-by-day growth of wild nestlings including Eastern Bluebirds, Chimney Swifts, Tufted Titmice, and the Yellow-billed Cuckoo—a bird that rapidly matures and fledges in just 8 days!
In addition to beautiful artwork, the text reads like a journal, personally connecting readers to each nest and bird family. NestWatchers will enjoy the careful and painstaking detail that Julie uses to capture these delicate creatures and will be sure to recognize the many stages of development from their own nest checks.
NestWatcher Ann Kent of Pennsylvania recently shared this photo of a 10-egg Tree Swallow clutch via our website! Tree Swallows typically lay four to seven eggs, with eight being the most you would expect to see.
We’re not positive what’s going on in this nest, but the last time we reported such a large Tree Swallow clutch in 2014, it turned out that two females were successfully sharing a nest box. Could it be happening again?
With the recent addition of House Finch and Japanese White-eye nests in Hawaii, NestWatchers have officially recorded nesting attempts in all 50 states! Mary Ann Bondy of Kihei, on the island of Maui, observed these two species and added them to our database. Mary Ann was thrilled to discover she was our first Hawaiian NestWatcher and pledged, “I will continue to keep my eye out for additional nests!”
The Japanese White-eye is also a new species for NestWatch. And the House Finch, incidentally, has also just exceeded its previous high count from 2014. You never know which nest is going to make the difference.