Photo © Keith Williams

October 2020 News

Vivian Pitzrick the “Nest Hunter”

This month’s blog post is brought to you by Cornell student Jewel Alston, an Environmental and Sustainability Communication fellow with our Nest Quest Go! project. Jewel is working to uncover the human history of the North American Nest-Record Card Program’s most prolific contributors. Check out the story of Vivian Pitzrick, a fellow birder, trailblazer, and prolific citizen scientist, and stay tuned for future stories from the archives.

Bulk Uploads Update

This month we were pleased to upload 568 nest records from California’s Bay Area, thanks to veteran NestWatcher Lee Pauser. The dataset includes common box-nesting birds like Western Bluebird, Barn Owls, and Western Screech-Owls, but also includes some infrequent box-nesters like the Nuttall’s Woodpecker. In fact, there are just 40 records of Nuttall’s Woodpecker nests in our database, likely because the more typical nesting location would be high in a dead tree cavity in California’s oak woodlands. We thank Lee Pauser for contributing these valuable data to our NestWatch database!

Eastern Bluebirds of Yesteryear

Our Nest Quest Go! project aims to recapture data from paper nest records on file at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that dated from the mid-1960s to early 2000s. In our most ambitious project to date, the Eastern Bluebirds have just launched and are ready for transcription! This species set is among our largest, but we’re starting off with 3,300 nest cards (more records will be added on a rolling basis). 

You can help us digitize the data using our Zooniverse website or via mobile app (Google Play and Apple app store). Volunteers have already helped us transcribe the Mountain and Western Bluebirds, along with numerous other species, but we need all hands on deck for this massive undertaking. If you have empty nest syndrome this fall and winter and are missing your birds, take a crack at virtual nest monitoring and get started here. All data will eventually be imported into NestWatch for researchers to freely use.

Important Updates

  • Planned Outage: On November 17-18, NestWatch and other Cornell Lab programs such as eBird and FeederWatch are expecting a planned outage as we migrate our database to new servers. Please note that data entry will not be available on these days, but other website resources should be unaffected.
  • Submit Your Data: Participants can enter their nest data on our website or via the app at any time (even historical data), but be sure to enter this year’s data by December 31 if you’d like it to be included in our annual summary report for 2020! View previous summary reports here.
  • Survey Emails: We are working with social scientist Dr. Tina Phillips here at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to learn more about the relationship between nature, well-being, and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you received a survey via email from Dr. Phillips, please consider contributing your thoughts and experiences.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology