Photo © Keith Williams

September 2017 News


Predator Guards: The Verdict Is In

To NestWatchers, it might seem obvious that nest boxes should be protected with predator guards for the best possible chance at success. However, no one has formally tested whether predator guards make a tangible difference in nesting outcomes for songbirds at a large spatial scale. Furthermore, no one has tested which of the popular styles is best (although everyone has an opinion on this subject), or if having more than one is even better. And are there any species which don’t reap the benefits?

We are thrilled to announce the publication of a new ground-breaking study by NestWatch wherein we analyzed more than 24,000 records submitted by participants to answer these questions. After nearly 50 years of speculation on the topic, read our results in the latest NestWatch Blog post.


Egg-citing New Art Print!

Birds’ eggs are among the most beautiful and intricate self-contained systems in nature. They are inspiring to gaze at, with their delicate colors and patterns. Hues of green, blue, red, and cream pop off the subtle parchment-paper background of our new print showcasing the eggs of common North American birds.

These 32 life-size eggs were hand-painted by Bartels Science Illustration Intern Virginia Greene, and each egg is identified by species. The 11″ x 17″ print hearkens back to the heyday of oology, when collectors obsessed over the diversity of bird eggs. Reminiscent of a plate from an antique book, the print is suitable for hanging with or without a frame. 

Get the newest Cornell Lab of Ornithology print for your donation of $50. For a limited time, you also have the option to get your print signed—but hurry, Virginia is leaving us soon! Once her signed prints are gone, this option will disappear. All donations go to support NestWatch’s mission to protect nesting birds through education and research.


Home Tweet Home Winners

This July we hosted our 4th annual Home Tweet Home photo contest. With great prizes on the line, including Zeiss binoculars and an exclusive artist-signed Eggs of North America print, we received over 630 entries! Narrowing down the winners was hard; luckily more than 1,300 people helped by wading through the contest gallery and voting for their favorites. Without further ado, your winners: 

  • Anna’s Hummingbirds by Soo Baus: People’s Choice & Cutest Baby categories
  • Northern Cardinals by Kim Caruso: Judges’ Choice & Eyewitness categories
  • Northern Mockingbirds by Melanie Furr: Nests and Eggs category
  • Tree Swallows by John Olson: Feeding Time category
  • The judges also selected 15 Honorable Mentions that stood out as exceptional submissions. See the gallery of honorees here. Thanks to everyone who participated! We appreciate your gorgeous photos, kind comments, and discerning votes.


    Cleaning House…or Not

    With the nesting season drawing to a close, our once bustling nest boxes are now quiet and filled with leftover nesting materials. What should be done with old nests? Do cavity-nesting birds prefer to reuse nests, or do they like a fresh start?

    Unfortunately, the answer is not clear-cut, and a lot depends on the species and the geographic location. Find out more about whether or not to clean your nest boxes on the NestWatch Blog