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NestWatch eNewsletter - September 2011

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NestWatch eNewsletter

September 2011

Nestbox check. 
The Devil is in the Details

NestWatchers often question the importance of entering data from individual nest checks. "Do I really have to report what was in the nest every time that I visited?" "Isn't it good enough to just know how many birds fledged from all of my nest boxes?" "Why would someone want that much information anyway?" Although it may seem excessive to record and report the contents of nests every few days as the NestWatch protocol requests, this level of detail is necessary to accurately detect changes in nesting success and to determine the causes of these changes. Simple end-of-the-year nest summaries often are not very informative and can be misleading, especially when summarized across nests. For example, a 60% fledging rate for 5 bluebird boxes that each had 5 eggs could mean that only 3 birds fledged from each nest or that all 5 birds fledged from 3 of the nests while no nestlings survived in the other 2. The implications of these two scenarios are quite different. The first suggests that something is causing all of the local bluebirds to have poor nesting success, while the second may mean that two of the boxes are located in poor habitat. Without knowing the stories of each nest, we could never determine appropriate management strategies.  

House Wren chicks in a natural cavity. Photo by Mary Roen
If you calculate a simple percentage of success based only on the total number of eggs and fledglings that you observe, you will overestimate the actual nesting success of the entire population. That's because many nests are lost to predators or bad weather early in the nesting period while others are missed all together. To solve these problems, researchers instead use nest observations collected every few days to calculate the likelihood that nests will survive from one day to the next. This daily survival rate is a much better estimate of the reproductive health of birds and allows us to accurately understand how various factors, such as air temperature, influence nesting. For instance, knowing that half the young in a nest died during a hot summer may point to the heat as the culprit, but by comparing actual daily temperatures to daily survival rates we can pinpoint the critical temperature at which nestlings perish. This would enable us to design nest boxes that keep the nest temperature below this lethal level. So, while it does take a bit more work to collect and enter detailed nest checking data, the benefits of doing so are well worth the time.

Bombaci (rear, in tan cap) enjoys sharing his discoveries along the Prothonotary trail.
Featured NestWatcher: Charles Bombaci, Protector of the Prothonotaries 

Growing up only a few miles from Roger Tory Peterson's house, Charles Bombaci was destined from a young age to make a mark in the world of bird conservation. As a boy, he was always interested in nature and often explored the woods and wetlands of his parents' property in Connecticut. Soon after college, Charles moved to central Ohio where he became very involved in the local birding community. He has participated in Audubon Christmas Bird Counts since the late 1970s, spent 6 years collecting data for the Second Ohio Breeding Bird Survey, and is currently a member of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Nature Conservancy, the Ohio Ornithological Society, and the advisory council of the Hoover Nature Preserve in Franklin and Delaware Counties (OH).

Prothonotary Warbler photo by Charles Bombaci
It is in the Hoover Nature Preserve that Charles's true passion resides. In 1988, Charles and a graduate student from The Ohio State University installed 12 Prothonotary Warbler nest boxes. These boxes successfully provided nesting habitat for the warblers, which are listed as a Species of Concern in Ohio. The student eventually moved on, but for the past 25 years Charles has continued to expand the Hoover Nature Preserve's Prothonotary Warbler nest box program. There currently are 250 boxes distributed throughout the area's swamp forest, resulting in Prothonotary Warblers nesting in most suitable habitat throughout the site. Charles does most of the monitoring and nest box maintenance himself, which is no small feat, but he is always happy to share the joys of his Prothonotary trail with others. Charles has been submitting his nest-monitoring data to NestWatch since 2002 and has entered the 7th highest total number of nesting attempts into our database (1,289)! Thank you, Charles, for all that you do and for showing us that one person can make a difference! 

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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Barn Owl "Wing" is still roosting in the box she used to raise two offspring in Italy, Texas.

Thank you to all of our viewers and camera hosts for another awesome season! While we're waiting patiently for next year, check out the NestCams archives. Also, our female Barn Owl in Italy, Texas, has been roosting in front of the camera so we will continue to broadcast from there throughout the winter.

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 Ruth Mattes. Congratulations, Ruth!  

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

• 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.  

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

 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 - 2 new articles


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

09/19/2011 CAP to keep pumping cash into EU's most environmentally harmful farms, reveals leaked proposal

At the beginning of September, Environmental NGOs and farmers condemned plans to greenwash the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as revealed in a leaked Commission document. The green groups say that unless the proposals are overhauled to provide real environmental commitments, the policy will remain devoid of any legitimacy.

09/18/2011 Forest & Bird appeals Denniston mine consent

Forest & Bird (BirdLife in New Zealand) appeal against plan for open-cast coal mine

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The Latest from Bird Crafts

The Latest from Bird Crafts

Cool Customers: Little Red Riding Hood Birthday Party!!

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 02:05 AM PDT

My mega sweet, talented friend Terri from Terri's Party Treasures recently threw a stunning party for her little girls - Twins turning 2 and the eldest turning 4! 

She was inspired by our printable Little Red Riding Hood Woodland Party, and a fabulous playhouse she won here on one of our giveaways!! How cool is that?! :)

I'm totally in awe of the amazing party details and creativity from Terri and all the vendors she worked with to create this whimsical fairy-tale party in real life!! And how adorable are her little munchkins?!! :D 
Check out full details below...

Inspiration and Décor:

It is great having three little girls and it is even better when their birthdays are only 4 weeks apart… 1 huge party for all three!  Our twins were turning 2 and our oldest was turning 4.

We decided to have a Little Red Riding Hood birthday party after seeing this printable party line by Bird's Party and featured on HWTM here.

I won an adorable little playhouse by My first playhouse in a giveaway here at Bird's Party and I knew instantly that it would be a perfect addition to the party!

We turned our everyday shed into Grandma's house by adding a little landscaping, party cones, wreath and Grandma's house sign! The backdrop, cake stands, pop stands and pine cone place card holders were all made by my amazing husband Mike.

I'm fortunate to have made several friends within the party industry and quickly got them on board with my party plans. I also create myself:
  • The wolf masks that the kids decorated using a bear mask from Michaels as a stencil and cutting them out of gray felt.
  • The chairs in the photo booth were a garage sale makeover, you can see the post here
  • The little red and wolf glass bottles were an easter clearance makeover, the post is here 
  • The table cover and the photo booth back drop
  • The Cake balls and chocolate covered oreos (of course)
  • The soup favors (using this recipe)and the little basket favor (using an inexpensive basket and adding a gingham liner and candy)
  • The Grandma's house sign made using vinyl and my cricut

Party Favors and Photo Booth:

The kids were able to sit down at a couple tables and make their own wolf mask, color a little red riding hood coloring page or decorate a butterfly.

The baskets that my girls were holding were a valentine clearance item that my sister in law helped sew new gingham liners for.

Party Credits:

I also wanted to somehow showcase all of the amazing vendors that I worked with so I created these storyboards and displayed them at the party.  I thought it was a good way to show them all off!  They all did such an amazing job!

* Styling and Cake Pops: Terri's party Treasures
* Photography: Jodi at Wildflowers Photography 
* Little Red Riding Hood party printables: Bird's Party
* Little red riding hood fabric: Foxes and Fables
* Capes and aprons: Sweet Things
* Shirt applique: The Sewing Loft
* Necklaces: 3 Little Birds Boutique
* Headbands: Nikki in Stitches
* Kandy Kines: Celebrate 2 Da
* Decorative Party Wreath: The Knock Knock Factory
*  Photo props and the coloring pages: Eye Candy Event Details
* Wolf photo prop mask: Mahalo
* Cake: Icing Tops the Cake
* Handmade cake topper embellishments and name tags: The Purple Pug
* Shortbread toadstool and wolf cookies: Dandy Delights
* Little red riding hood cookies: Firefly Confections
* Smore pops were: The Sweetest Thing 
* Table banner: Stampin Fanatic

NJ Bird Photos: Birds of New Jersey

NJ Bird Photos: Birds of New Jersey

Chipmunk eating blueberries

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 02:45 PM PDT

Chipmunk eating blueberries
Chipmunk eating blueberries
Not a bird, but one of our good friends.