The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve just posted an update of their research monitoring bird nest boxes at the Reserve.

http://www.elkhornslough.org/research/PDF/2008_nestbox_report.pdf

Volunteer Shirley Murphy is checking a nest box with a flashlight and small dental mirror so as not to disturb chicks

Volunteer Shirley Murphy is checking a nest box with a flashlight and small dental mirror so as not to disturb chicks

This program monitoring about 150 nest boxes in the oak woodlands of ESNERR began in 1998. Each spring and summer the nestboxes are monitored weekly by a team of volunteers. By carefully checking the boxes and consistently recording what they see, the volunteers are able to obtain data on:
– nest box occupancy (which boxes are occupied and by which species)
– phenology (timing of reproductive events)
– indicators of reproductive success (clutch size, hatching rate, fledging rate)
– parasitism (blowflies in nesting material)

Monitoring these parameters serves as one way of keeping track of the health of oak woodland communities around the ESNERR over time. For instance, dramatic declines in nest box use or fledging rate would serve as a warning signal alerting managers to potential problems in these habitats. These data also would motivate a search by researchers for new negative environmental influences in the area.

To see more about this program and how to get involved go here:

http://www.elkhornslough.org/research/bird_nestbox.htm

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