Lead Environmental Educator
|American Robin eggs!|
Due to this relatively short time commitment for one clutch, multiple clutches are not uncommon. As with last year, our resident Eastern Bluebird family raised two sets of five young in one of our meadow boxes, one right after the other. Several pairs of American Robins, never to be one-upped, raised three or even four clutches in a row. That last family of robins fledged on August 26th, having raised three clutches out of the same nest since beginning the season over three months prior, on May 15th. But this was long after the Tree Swallows were done, the last of their young fledging in mid-July.
|American Robins, just a few days old|
How do we learn this about our local species? Through the citizen science project NestWatch, run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the staff and volunteers at VINS spent a little time each week checking on some 30 nest sites around the Nature Center. 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 NestWatch volunteers all across the country.
|Eastern Bluebirds, close to fledging|
VINS is Vermont’s only NestWatch chapter, and we encourage our visitors and members to participate in nest monitoring on their own through training workshops in the spring. Our brave little state could use more data: over half of all the Tree Swallow and American Robin nests monitored this year in Vermont were right here at VINS. Would you like to get involved with citizen science projects at VINS or at home? Do you know of a nest near you? Join the effort! It’s free, and helps contribute to real science. Check out nestwatch.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We also want to extend a special thank you to Aine and Ian, our stellar Citizen Science Volunteers, who made this very busy summer’s data collection possible. Without their weekly dedication to monitoring our Tree Swallow and Eastern Bluebird nest boxes, we would not have been able to make these vital observations that are aiding our understanding of breeding bird biology.