Be A Nest Watcher

You would be surprised at how early some birds start nesting. March is not too soon to begin watching. Some birds are already singing. Others will be building or fixing up their nests. You could start now and keep watching right up to when the young birds first try their wings and leave the nest. Why not become a bird biologist this year and observe the nesting of a pair of birds through this year’s nesting season? Here’s how to use the power of the Internet to be a nest watcher.

1. Get or make a notebook to keep your observations in.
2. Pick a nest to observe from the list of Webcams below.
3. Visit the Webcam you choose at least once a day if you can.
4. What kind of bird is nesting?
5. Write or draw about what is happening, be sure to write the date and time whenever something happens. 
6. Things to watch for:

Are adult birds bringing things to make the nest? What are they bringing?
Do they make a new nest or fix up an old one?
When do they lay the first egg? How many do they lay?
Is there an adult bird sitting on the eggs to warm them?
How many eggs are there when the adult bird starts to sit on the eggs?
When does the first egg hatch?
When do any other eggs hatch?
What kind of food do the parent birds bring to the nest?
What do the young birds look like?
Do the adult birds protect them if it rains?
When do they get regular feathers?
Are all the young birds the same size?
Do you see the young birds do anything? What?
When do the young birds leave the nest?

Here are some websites with nests you can watch:

  1. New York Wild has several different nest cameras.
  2. The Birdhouse Network has a number of nest Webcams. They also have observation worksheets you can download and use.
  3. The Biodiversity Research Institute has an EagleCam, a Looncam and An OspreyCam in Maine which can be visited as each kind of bird begins to nest.
  4. The Rochester FalconCam in Rochester, NY shows different camera views of a Peregrine Falcon nest.
  5. A large list of other nest Webcams can be found at View Nesting Birds.

So pick a nest and visit it often for a spring you will never forget.

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