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Project spotlights life in birds' nest
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ITHACA, N.Y. — What could be cuter than baby birds all atwitter in the nest? But amid the “oohs” and “aahs” are real data about the rhythms of bird biology and how they may be changing as the result of human activity.
Combine the “wow” factor of the former with the scientific value of the latter and you have NestWatch, a new, free citizen science project developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in collaboration with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and funded by the National Science Foundation. Participants visit nests during spring and summer to collect simple information about location, habitat, species, number of eggs and number of young in the nest. Then they submit their observations online.
The always-popular NestCams companion site has been revamped and is now up and running. Live cameras show the nesting activities of barn owls, wood ducks and northern flickers in Texas and California. More cameras will be going online across the country in the weeks ahead at
All NestWatch materials and instructions are available online at, including directions on how to find nests and how to monitor them without disturbing the birds.
For more information and to sign up, visit
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