(by Kimmie Whiteman)
Massabesic Center volunteers have been collecting and submitting data for our Bluebird Monitoring Project for over 20 years, so it was only natural that we take the extra step to become an incorporated chapter of NestWatch.
A project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “NestWatch is a nationwide community science program designed to track status and trends in the reproductive biology of birds across the United States, including when nesting occurs, number of eggs laid, how many eggs hatch, and how many hatchlings survive. Data are submitted online to NestWatch to help us better understand nesting behavior and threats to birds.”
NestWatch is one more phenology tool helping us understand changes in the timing of natural events – in this case, the timing of bird nesting biology. NestWatch data shows, for example, that Tree Swallows now begin nesting about 10 days earlier than they did 50 years ago. “This trend corresponds with an increase in average springtime temperature. Simply put, without the help of NestWatch volunteers, it would be impossible to gather enough information to accurately detect these kinds of changes at large geographic scales.”