Photo © Keith Williams

April 2018 News


Blog Update: 5 Nests to Find This Year

This year we’re asking NestWatchers to accept our challenge to find one nest of a species you’ve never monitored before. For inspiration, we illustrated five beloved backyard birds that nest near people. Download and print the images as a reminder, and read on to learn how to find the nests of these “outside the box” nesters. Find the illustrated article on our blog.


An Update on the MBTA

In December 2017, the Deputy Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior issued a 41-page opinion that effectively changes the interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the principal piece of legislation protecting birds, including their nests, eggs, and young. Under the new interpretation, “incidental” killing of birds would not be considered a violation of the Act. Note that the actual language of the Act has not changed.

As conservation organizations try to make sense of the change and what it means for birds, the Cornell Lab’s Spring 2018 Living Bird magazine has published two columns to help explain the relevance of the new interpretation. We encourage you to read them, keeping in mind that the deliberate destruction of nests and eggs is still enforceable (e.g., a building manager knocking down a swallow nest).

The Cornell Lab’s director Dr. John Fitzpatrick wrote an analysis, as did Lynn Scarlett, former Deputy Secretary of the Interior under George W. Bush.



Last Call To Take Our Survey

Invasive, non-native bird species can cause problems in nest boxes; however, there is very little information on the scale of the problem. If you monitor nest boxes, please consider taking our survey by May 1 to help us learn more about this important issue, whether or not you have noticed invasive species at your own boxes. We developed this 10–15 minute survey to gather input from a variety of people who provide nest boxes for birds in the United States and Canada. This study is being administered by NestWatch; however, you don’t need to be a registered NestWatcher in order to participate.

This study has two parts: a spring survey (accessed here), and a follow-up survey after nesting season concludes (about six months from now). As a special “thank you” for participating in both surveys, all entries will be automatically entered to win a pair of Zeiss Terra ED binoculars valued at $400! We greatly appreciate your assistance, and we invite you to share this survey with friends and colleagues in your network. Thank you for helping to document the impacts of invasive species on native cavity-nesting birds. The survey will close May 1.

Download the 2018 Invasive Species Report Form.