Photo © Keith Williams

January 2019 News

New Study Focuses on House Finches

A study spanning more than a century of House Finch data suggests that as California’s spring temperatures get warmer, the birds are laying eggs earlier in the season. The new study is based on data from our nest records, along with nest specimens from museums going back to 1895. 

Dr. Heather Watts of Washington State University spearheaded the investigation on these vegetarian birds. The paper notes that while insect-eating birds have been documented to shift their egg laying in association with warmer spring temperatures, birds which eat a plant-based diet (about 28% of species globally) have been understudied. The House Finch, which is also declining in California, was therefore a good study species. Read more about this research in our latest blog post.

Updates To Personal Nesting Reports

We’ve recently updated your personal data reports to include more helpful information. These updates affect the “Species Summary” report type available at the bottom of the “Your Data” dashboard. Use this downloadable report to keep tabs on key metrics for all of your species by year, and/or by group. Now, when you download your Species Summary reports, an additional five fields will be calculated: earliest hatch date, earliest fledge date, mean clutch size, mean nestlings, and mean fledglings.

Here are just a few of the ways you can use these reports:

1.) Compare mean fledglings from year to year

2.) Compare mean fledglings from site to site

3.) Predict when you might expect to see the first eggs, nestlings, or fledglings of a species

4.) Check if your nesting success rate is higher or lower than you expected

Old Data Get Fresh Eyes

We welcomed new staff member Becca Rodomsky-Bish this month. Becca will be helping us digitize historic nesting data from the North American Nest Record Card Program (the precursor to NestWatch). These paper data forms represent a valuable collection of historic data which are currently underutilized, and Becca’s role will be to archive and mobilize these data for research. Welcome, Becca!

A New Chapter Joins Us

We’re excited to welcome Greene County Parks & Trails (Greene County, Ohio) as our newest NestWatch Chapter. Spearheaded by naturalist Jared Merriman, the chapter will continue monitoring nest boxes throughout the parks and also aims to increase the number of open-cup nests monitored this year. Here’s to a productive nesting season in Greene County’s public spaces!

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology