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NestWatch eNewsletter - May 2011

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NestWatch eNewsletter

May 2011

House Sparrow eggs. Photo by Caren Cooper
House Sparrows: Making the Best of a Bad Situation

Do House Sparrows take over your nest boxes?  If so, there's a way to make lemonade from those lemons! Because House Sparrows are a nonnative species, they are undesirable inhabitants of nest boxes in North America, but they are an easily accessible study species that can be used to address ecological questions without disturbing native birds.

Researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are currently studying this species to help better understand the enormous variation in eggshell patterns and color. House Sparrow eggs exhibit an extraordinary amount of variation. Eggshell coloration and pattern may vary with available calcium, sunlight patterns, or habitat quality, and are expected to differ seasonally and geographically as well.

You can help Cornell researchers gather information about the variation in House Sparrow eggs by submitting digital photographs of sparrow clutches so that the degree of speckling, spot size, and color tone of the eggs can be measured. Based on the variation that the researchers observe, they may find support for particular hypotheses about the underlying causes of eggshell color and patterning.

To photograph eggs, please place them on a white piece of paper next to a coin for scale. Also, clearly write the date and location (town, state, zip code) on the paper next to the eggs before photographing, or include this information in the file name. Email digital photos to Dr. Caren Cooper (caren.cooper@cornell.edu).

Eurasian Collared-Doves, courtesy Project FeederWatch

Tracking the Eurasian Collared-Dove

First introduced into Florida in the early 1980s, the Eurasian Collared-Dove is now well established throughout most of the United States with the exception of the Northeast.

Since 1999, Project FeederWatch has been tracking the expansion of this nonnative species across the country and researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are using these data to better understand the collared-dove invasion. They initially hypothesized that the spread of this species would negatively affect native dove species, such as Mourning Dove, White-winged Dove, and Common Ground-Dove. However, contrary to expectations, the abundance of native doves was generally found to be greater at sites where collared-doves occurred. FeederWatch staff will continue to monitor and study interactions between Eurasian Collared-Doves and native birds as this species continues to spread to different regions and environments. 

You can help by finding and monitoring Eurasian Collared-Dove nests. Nest monitoring is an extremely important part of tracking the spread of this species, but there are currently only two collared-dove nests in the NestWatch database. Collared-doves typically are found in urban, suburban, and agricultural areas. Their nests are very similar to those of other doves, consisting of a loose conglomeration of twigs, stems, roots, and grasses and located in trees, thick shrubs, or on building ledges. If there are Eurasian Collared-Doves where you live, please consider looking for their nests and monitoring them with NestWatch. 

Thank you for your participation in NestWatch to help science and the birds! 




Jason Martin
NestWatch and NestCams project leader
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850



    The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth's biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab's website at http://www.birds.cornell.edu.

    Cornell Lab of Ornithology
    159 Sapsucker Woods Rd, Ithaca NY 14850
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Five Carolina Wren eggs in the nest shown by the Greenville, Texas, NestCam.

Good luck to the Eastern Bluebird and Tufted Titmouse fledglings! NestCams is now featuring Black Vultures, Pacific Loons, Chimney Swifts, and Barred Owls, among other species. Our Barn Owls, Wing and Beau, are expecting their three eggs to hatch soon! 

Killdeer chick. Photo by Dennis McCarthy

You ARE Thinking Outside the Box! 

Fantastic job, everyone! So far this year, nearly 20% of the nesting attempts that you have reported to NestWatch are from nests outside of nest boxes, including 11 House Finches, 11 Mourning Doves, 8 Northern Cardinals, 2 Killdeer, 3 mockingbirds, and 1 Red-winged Blackbird. The information that you are gathering enables us to continue monitoring the nesting biology of these species across the country. Keep up the good work! And it's not too late to start monitoring nests this year. In many areas, birds will continue to nest until July or August. 

Monthly Winner

At the beginning of each month, NestWatch randomly selects one participant to receive a copy of the NestWatch Common Nesting Birds of North America poster. This month's lucky winner is John Walker. Congratulations, John!


There are lots of ways to stay in touch...

• Need answers quickly regarding breeding biology or data entry? Visit our NestWatch forums page. 

• Share your photos, stories, and videos with others. Join us on Facebook—it's free, fun, and easy! You can join our NestWatch and NestCams Facebook pages.

 Add your images to the NestWatch suite of photos by joining the NestWatch Flickr group.  

 Stay in touch with NestWatch news and events. Follow our tweets on Twitter for NestWatch and NestCams.

NestWatch is a great way to get outdoors, enjoy nature, and contribute data to science.
Pledge your NestWatch support by making a donation.

BirdLife Community - Art v Extinction - Ghosts of Gone Birds


Here are the BirdLife International instant news update for omsstravel.6666@blogger.com

05/19/2011 Art v Extinction – Ghosts of Gone Birds

The first in a series of innovative arts events in support of the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme launches in Liverpool, UK City of Culture, today. The exhibition called Ghosts of Gone Birds presents a unique collection of originally commissioned artworks, literature and music from some of the UK’s leading contemporary artists, writers and performers including - Ralph Steadman, Sir Peter [...]

Your requested content delivery powered by FeedBlitz, LLC, 9 Thoreau Way, Sudbury, MA 01776, USA. +1.978.776.9498


The Latest from Bird Crafts

The Latest from Bird Crafts

An AMAZING, 7th Birthday Enchanted Prom Party!!

Posted: 19 May 2011 05:51 AM PDT

This party will blow you socks off!! It was sent to us by Melissa from Buckets of Grace blog - Full of pink, gorgeous details, disco balls, tulle, glitter, glam and sparkle!! 

Check out the breath-taking details below...

WOW!! Melissa, I'm speechless at the amount of  time, work, love, talent and dedication that went into this event!! Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous party photos here!!
Now, you guys can stop drooling!! :D

Party Credits:
Cake and Macarons: The Tasteful Cake
Paperie: Posh Pixels
Table backdrop: Simply French Market
Custom Banner and Sign: Peas and Thank You's
Fondant Toppers: Two Sugar Babies
Paper Cups: Shop Sweet Lulu
Kandy Kones: Celebrate2Da
Sugar Cookies: Happy Cookies

Time Out...

Posted: 18 May 2011 09:41 AM PDT

Been working away on new party collections, the e-site and lots of exciting projects (to be shared soon..), but since the weather was soooooo glorious today and my kids are off school (no school on Wednesday here...) then it was time to take some time off this afternoon. Guess what we did? Pick cherries off course! :)

Every year our cherry trees get full to the max, and the beautiful cherries just beg to be picked! Not sure what we'll be making with them yet (suggestions most welcome...), but just wanted to show you the fruits of our not-so hard labor! :)

My daughter (3 years old) suggested we make cherry ice cream with them, to which I replied "Honey, I don't know how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker!" - Then she replied: "Mama, how about practice makes perfect?!" :D

Anyways, what you been up to?

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NJ Bird Photos: Birds of New Jersey

NJ Bird Photos: Birds of New Jersey

A Cute Gosling

Posted: 18 May 2011 04:20 AM PDT


Here's a cute picture of an adorable baby goose. They waddle on to the lawn through a hole in the fence and nibble on the delicate grass. What can be cuter than a baby bird?