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Frequently Asked Questions about Monitoring nests

Can I touch the nest?

Please do not touch the nest. Some of the nests are built to withstand a lot of movement but others will topple over with just a slight nudge!

Can I touch the eggs/nestlings?

We recommend not touching the eggs or nestlings without a member of the urbanbirdnerd crew there to help. Eggs are incredibly fragile and nestlings are smaller and wiggle more than you think! 

How often should I visit the nest?

You only need to visit the nest every 3-5 days. The least amount of disturbance the better. If you find a nest with only 1 or 2 eggs, give it at least 3 days before checking again. Females will lay 1 egg a day and then begin incubating. On average, they will incubate for 14 days before the first egg hatches! 

What time of day should I do visits? 

The best time to monitor a nest is in the morning before it gets too hot. If it is cold in the morning, wait for the weather to warm up a little. When you monitor a nest you will likely flush the adults from it. This means that the eggs/nestlings will go without food/warmth/sometimes shade while you collect data. This is why we recommend keeping an eye on the weather! Never monitor a nest in the rain/snow. 


My nest is high up, how can I see inside?

The best way to look inside a nest is with a mirror! I use a handheld mechanics mirror that extends. You can also use your phone and a selfie stick to take a picture. If you do, be sure your phone is attached well and will not fall on the nest! You can use a ladder if needed but be sure not to wiggle the branch too hard. 

The parents freak out when I visit the nest. Will they abandon it because of my monitoring?

Probably not, especially if they have eggs or nestlings already. It takes a lot of energy to make that nest and produce those eggs! They are not going to give up that easily! They are being good parents and yelling at the big scary human monster. 

The nestlings fell out of the nest. What should I do!?

If the nestling is not naked and has feathers, leave them where they are. The parent are close by and will continue to feed and protect the nestling/fledgling from the ground. 

If you have other questions please feel free to contact the project lead Karina Sanchez at

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