Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Got this wonderful letter from Cornell and I just know that some of you would like to become Citizen Scientists!! Get involved, and we can help keep the birds here for your Grandkids.

Dear Friend,

Got Nest Boxes? If you do, you have a front-row seat on the miracle of birth and renewal in the bird world. If you don't, now is the time to put them up. You can also help scientists learn more about bird families and how they might be affected by climate change.

You're invited to register your nest box (or boxes) with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch program ( It won't cost you a thing but it does yield valuable information about breeding birds and how their natural rhythms may be changing.

NestWatch is easy and fun for adults and children. It helps all of us reconnect with nature, which is good for our health and well-being. NestWatch is a great activity to do on your own, in a classroom, or as a homeschool project.

Here's why it's so important to gather this information: Studies are showing that some birds are laying their eggs sooner than they used to—as much as nine days earlier in the case of Tree Swallows. That could spell trouble if the eggs hatch before a steady supply of insects is available for feeding the young. As a NestWatch participant, you'll visit nests once or twice a week and report what you see: Which kinds of birds are using your nest boxes? When were the first eggss laid? How many eggs were laid and how many actually hatched?

Everything you need to register your nest box and get started with NestWatch is available online, including directions on how you can monitor nest boxes without disturbing the birds.

Don't have a nest box yet? Find out how to provide the best and safest boxes for bluebirds, swallows, chickadees, and other cavity-nesting birds [at your local Wild Birds Unlimited Store]. If you like, you can also monitor the nests of backyard birds that don’t use nest boxes, such as phoebes, robins, and goldfinches.

By the way, the hugely popular NestCams are back in action—peek into nests and nest boxes across the country via live cameras focused on Eastern Bluebirds, Barred Owls, Wood Ducks, Barn Owls and more. Keep watching and see what hatches! The more NestWatchers we have the better the information we can gather about our bird friends. Feel free to download this NestWatch flyer (PDF) and post it anywhere you feel is appropriate. As a citizen scientist you have the power to really make a big difference.

Thank you!
Tina Phillips, Project Leader NestWatch

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