How to monitor nests safely

How to monitor nests safely - The BTO Nest Recorders Code of Conduct

It is perfectly safe to monitor nests; scientific studies have shown that, as long as observers are careful and follow the Code of Conduct, making regular visits to a nest does not increase the probability of it failing.

The three things to watch out for are:

Accidental damage – Be very careful when moving any vegetation around the nest, so as not to dislodge the nest or cause it to tilt and spill its contents. Be aware also of any other nests near the one you are trying to reach.

Desertion – It is important not to startle a sitting bird, so if a female is sat tight when you try to visit a nest, just go away and check again later. If a bird does happen to leave the nest on your approach, make a note of the nest contents and leave the area straight away; she will quickly return. Chicks and eggs are exposed while a parent is off the nest, so do not visit in inclement weather.

Revealing a nest to predators – Predators can be assisted by tracks and signs left by people and animals. Avoid leaving a trail to the nest by trying not to displace or trample any surrounding vegetation. Never inspect a nest if you think a predator may be watching you.


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