NestWatch 2018 Report

by Anna Autilio
Lead, Environmental Educator

Nestling Eastern Bluebirds

Another season of nesting birds at the VINS Nature Center is behind us, and the world is full of young fledglings learning to make their way in the wide open world. It was quite a busy summer here, between the rush of baby birds needing care at the Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation, and the wild birds being raised by their wild parents right next door in our meadow nest boxes (and under the eaves of our buildings!)

Eastern Bluebird eggs

Through the citizen science project NestWatch, run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the staff at VINS spent a little time each week checking on some 30 nest sites, observing the hard-to-reach ones with a bent mirror on the end of a broomstick. We collected data on the number of eggs, the ages of the hatchlings, and the behavior of the parents and reported this information to the NestWatch website. There, Cornell scientists pool our data with others from thousands of other NestWatch volunteers all across the country to learn more about breeding bird distribution and abundance.

American Robin eggs

Here’s a brief summary of the 2018 Season at VINS:

Number of nesting attempts monitored: 19
Number of species nesting at VINS: 6
Number of eggs laid, total: 72
Number of young hatched, total: 58
Number of young fledged, total: 48
Number of fledglings per nesting attempt, average: 2.5

Nestling Eastern Bluebird

The six species nesting here were the expected resident Tree Swallows, American Robins, and Eastern Phoebes, but we also had a family of Black-capped Chickadees take up residence in a nest box, a Red-eyed Vireo build a tiny, delicate nest in an oak tree behind the Bald Eagle exhibit, and an Eastern Bluebird family, the first in several years, fledge 5 young out of one of our nest boxes in two separate nesting attempts, a phenomenon called “double-clutching”.

Our Eastern Bluebird nest was actually one of only 10 monitored in Vermont this year, and our Black-capped Chickadees were one of 5 monitored. Do you know of a nest near you? Join the effort! You can participate in NestWatch too! It’s free and help contribute to real science. Check out and create your free account. You’ll learn how to safely monitor nests in your yard, and hopefully join other NestWatchers all across the country next year!

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