Birds Without Borders - Aves Sin Fronteras®
Research on reproductive success (nest searching and monitoring)
The most accurate way of determining whether a bird's nesting attempt is successful is to locate the nest and monitor it until the young are old enough to leave the nest (fledge). We did nest searching in both Wisconsin and Belize five to six days a week during the breeding season. Nests were monitored (the number of eggs or young present are counted) when found, and then every three to four days until the young fledged or the nest failed due to predation or other causes. To minimize disturbance to the birds and avoid increasing the risk of predation, nests were monitored from a distance when possible, and as quickly as possible. Prior to approaching the nest, researchers searched the area for any sign of possible predators, particularly avian predators such as jays, crows or hawks. We took care not to leave a dead-end trail to the nest that mammalian predators could follow. If vegetation obscured the nest contents, researchers used a stick to move aside the vegetation so as not to leave any human scent at the nest site. When the nest was beyond reach, we used a pole with a mirror attached to view the nest contents.
To date, we have found more than 578 nests at our Wisconsin study sites and more than 330 nests at our Belize study sites.
We have also summarized our research results into manuals of recommendations for landowners on how to manage your land to benefit birds. To see the manual for landowners in Wisconsin, the Midwest and the eastern United States, please click here. To see the manual for Belize and Mesoamerican landowners, please click here.