Photo © Keith Williams

February 2020 News


Invasive Species in Nest Boxes

In 2018, NestWatch sent out an online survey to investigate how many people had experience with non-native birds in their nest boxes. The survey explored peoples’ knowledge of House Sparrows and European Starlings, both non-native species in the United States and Canada, where the survey took place. We were interested in peoples’ attitudes towards managing non-native species, especially if people encountered them in their monitored nest boxes.

We are grateful to the many people who took time to fill out our survey. Because of you, we have a better understanding of the impact of nest usurpation, and how people are playing a role in reducing the number of nests that fail due to usurpation by non-native species. Find out what we learned in our latest blog post.


Feeding Worms Keeps Flies Away

Check out this recent study, showing that Eastern Bluebird nestlings who had access to more food during the breeding season also had increased immune responses to parasitic fly larvae (blowflies) and better survival. The study also suggests that feeding mealworms (which are not worms but beetle larvae) earlier in the season had more of an effect. So, if cost is limiting when you provide mealworms, prioritize providing them early in the season. We recommend that if you provide both food and nest boxes, place feeders some distance away from your nest boxes to avoid attracting predators to the nest(s).


We Want Your Flycatcher Photos!

As a reminder, NestWatch is still seeking photos of Great Crested Flycatcher and Ash-throated Flycatcher nests for our study on nest materials in these species. For reasons we don’t yet understand, these two species often incorporate shed snake skins into their nest materials.

We’re asking NestWatchers to please use the photo upload tool on the mobile app or on our website to upload photos of nests (including nests lacking snake skin). Using the photo upload tool in the data entry pages automatically links the images to the correct nesting data.

Learn more about how to participate in the study and how to find these flycatchers’ nests here.


Kansas Data Haul

This month we bulk-uploaded 357 nest records courtesy of Vince Petrillo, who submitted the data on behalf of the Kansas State Extension Master Naturalists. These data from hundreds of nest boxes covered eight species from 2019. Great work, Kansas State!