When a husband-and-wife team in the real estate business set out to build a Barred Owl nest box, they hoped their listing would please the local owls that were heard calling around their new property. In time, it did, but they had to put in some sweat equity to make it happen. Read our new blog post about their journey and the lessons learned. This box will be the envy of the neighborhood!
She may not be old enough to drive yet, but 14-year-old Katelyn Shelton didn’t let that stop her from creating a nest box trail in her neighborhood. A contributor to NestWatch, Katelyn shares her enthusiasm for birds and conservation as a guest blogger.
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.
On a farm in Ohio, middle school students are learning about bluebirds and other cavity-nesting birds by monitoring nests for NestWatch. Kate Anderson told us how Operation Bluebird got its start, and offers a model that other land trusts and conservation organizations can use to introduce youth to birds and citizen science.
What do bluebirds and fall foliage have in common? It turns out, quite a lot! Our guest student blogger uses her artist’s eye to spot surprising similarities in nature that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Birds don’t choose where to place a nest arbitrarily…they rely on signals from the environment, such as cavity size, food availability, and abundance of predators nearby. But sometimes those signals become uncoupled from actual habitat quality. Learn how you can reduce the risk of setting an “ecological trap.”
It took just four years to answer the decades-old question of “Are predator guards on nest boxes actually helpful?” With the power of citizen science, NestWatchers helped us use the best science available in a national study of cavity-nesting birds.
Do cavity-nesting birds prefer to reuse nests, or do they like a fresh start? The answer is not clear-cut, and a lot depends on the species and the geographic location.
In May 2017, Jason Estep of Ohio witnessed something incredibly rare, or at least, rarely seen. An Eastern Bluebird female consistently sat in the old nest of an American Robin over an eight day period. Although the nest was too high to glimpse the contents, it is thought that she was incubating eggs. But Jason isn’t the only one to find this kind of oddity this year.
Last summer, NestWatcher Melissa Sherwood surprised us with the first ever report of a Dark-eyed Junco nesting in an enclosed nest box. Well, this year, Denise Hamilton joins the exclusive club of people who have observed this rare behavior.