Photo © Keith Williams

November 2022 News

What’s Old Is New

Our Nest Quest Go! initiative continues to add historic nest records to the NestWatch database. Since our last newsletter, many new collections have been uploaded, including: catbirds, mockingbirds, cuckoos, raptors, thrashers, hummingbirds, orioles, nocturnal birds, starlings, sparrows, warblers, grassland birds, bushtits, titmice, tanagers, and blackbirds. Together these collections add an impressive 44,796 nest records to our long-term archive! One card from 1973 has already received a taxonomic update: an Eastern Meadowlark nest record was determined to actually be that of a Chihuahuan Meadowlark, which scientists have recently split from the Eastern Meadowlarks. It’s now the only nest record of that species in our database!

If you haven’t explored Nest Quest Go! before, try your hand at transcribing old paper nest record cards into digital data. We still need your help finishing up the Tree Swallow collection. Your help is so appreciated!

On Martins And Mussels

Fans of mystery novels (and birds) will appreciate this news article about “the curious case of the Purple Martins and the pearl buttons.” When a Purple Martin landlord in Iowa cleaned out his nesting gourds, he found a cache of iridescent pearl buttons which haven’t been manufactured since the 1940s. 

Why were they there? He sleuthed out the answer with the help of historians, neighboring farmers, and NestWatch. Journalist Cheryl Allen brings this mysterious story to life in an informative and entertaining tale that starts in the year 1891. Don’t miss it!

Mountain Bluebird Status Update

The North American Bluebird Society recently convened a virtual conference to assess the status of the least-studied bluebird species—the Mountain Bluebird. Four panelists presented trend data and interacted with nest box stewards to try to understand what next steps would help address declines. You can read a summary of the event, and watch the full recording, on our blog.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology