Photo © Keith Williams

November 2017 News

Nesting in a Warming Climate

Earlier this week, a new study featuring NestWatch data was published in the prestigious journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Global temperatures have risen about one degree Celsius over the past century, which has resulted in some species nesting earlier or in different places in order to adapt. These shifts can have meaningful impacts on avian nesting success, but until now, no one has investigated these impacts at large spatial scales across a diversity of species.

Recently, researchers at the University of Connecticut accessed data from 47,023 monitored nests from 110 North American species, thanks to NestWatchers. They found that temperature anomalies were correlated with nesting success at the fringes of the breeding range.

“In the colder parts of the breeding ranges, abnormally warm summers increase survival, but in warm southern parts of ranges, abnormally warm summers decrease survival,” says Morgan Tingley, one of the study authors. Temperature does matter to nestling survival, and this pattern demonstrates the consequences of staying put in a warming world.

The two-part study also used long-term data from California to demonstrate that birds are now breeding 5–12 days earlier than they did a century ago, which potentially explains why some bird populations have not moved their breeding range despite rising temperatures. Read the full press release here.

How Are Bluebirds Like Fall Foliage?

What do bluebirds and fall foliage have in common? It turns out, quite a lot! Our guest student blogger, Raisa Kochmaruk, uses her artist’s eye to spot surprising similarities in nature that might otherwise go unnoticed. Read our new blog post about what these two things have in common (we guarantee you’ll learn something and be inspired).


Our hearts are so full of gratitude right now! November has already brought us 616 new nest records for bulk uploading. Data from Lee Pauser in California (2017) and older data from Lucy Oldfield in Michigan (2013) are joining our database soon! If you’ve got bulk data to share—any year, any species—we’d love to hear from you.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday, and know that we are so grateful for each and every participant who donates their time and effort to NestWatch.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology