NestWatch eNewsletter October 2020.

 Eastern Bluebird at nest
Historical photo of an Eastern Bluebird submitted by Charlie Rouse, photographer unknown.Eastern Bluebirds of YesteryearOur Nest Quest Go! project aims to recapture data from paper nest records on file at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that date from the mid-1960s to early 2000s. In our most ambitious project to date, the Eastern Bluebirds have just launched and are ready for transcription! This species set is among our largest, but we’re starting off with 3,300 nest cards (more records will be added on a rolling basis). 

Nuttall's Woodpecker nestling in tree cavity
You can help us digitize the data using our Zooniverse website or via mobile app (Google Play and Apple app store). Volunteers have already helped us transcribe the Mountain and Western Bluebirds, along with numerous other species, but we need all hands on deck for this massive undertaking. If you have empty nest syndrome this fall and winter and are missing your birds, take a crack at virtual nest monitoring and get started here. All data will eventually be imported into NestWatch for researchers to freely use.Vivian Pitzrick was a champion of birds and a skilled nest finder. Read her story in our latest blog. Photo courtesy of Michael Pitzrick.

Vivian Pitzrick

Meet Vivian, the Nest Hunter
Speaking of historical nest records, our latest blog post introduces Vivian Pitzrick. Vivian became one of the most prolific contributors of nest records to the Cornell Lab’s North American Nest-Record Card Project, the pen-and-paper precursor to NestWatch. Written by Cornell student Jewel Alston, this is the story of a woman who made it her business to find as many nests as possible by competing with her best friend every nesting season.
Born in 1914 when female ornithologists were scarce, Vivian nevertheless earned the nickname “the bird lady” and was well-respected in birding circles. Read the full story on our blog.

Chipping Sparrow nestlings in a nest, with the words "Take Note" on the image.
Nuttall’s Woodpecker nestling by Louis Swaim.
This month we were pleased to upload 568 nest records from the San Jose, California, area thanks to veteran NestWatcher Lee Pauser. The dataset includes common box-nesting birds like Western Bluebirds, Barn Owls, and Western Screech-Owls, but also includes some infrequent box-nesters like the 
Nuttall’s Woodpecker. In fact, there are just 40 records of Nuttall’s Woodpecker nests in our database, likely because the more typical nesting location would be high in a dead tree cavity in California’s oak woodlands. We thank Lee Pauser for contributing these valuable data to our NestWatch database!Chipping Sparrows by Ari Morrison.Important Updates
Planned Outage: On November 17-18, NestWatch and other Cornell Lab programs such as eBird and FeederWatch are expecting a planned outage as we migrate our database to new servers. Please note that data entry will not be available on these days, but other website resources should be unaffected.
Submit Your Data: Participants can enter their nest data on our website or via the app at any time (even historical data), but be sure to enter this year’s data by December 31 if you’d like it to be included in our annual summary report for 2020! View previous summary reports here.
Survey Emails: We are working with social scientist Dr. Tina Phillips here at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to learn more about the relationship between nature, well-being, and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you received a survey via email from Dr. Phillips, please consider contributing your thoughts and experiences.
Donations to NestWatch help fuel our science on conservation of nesting birds.

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