ITHACA, N.Y. -- Researchers at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the North American Bluebird Society (NABS) are asking bird-lovers to log on to http://birds.cornell.edu and put their birdhouses on the map for the first-ever Great North American Bluebird Count, May 14-17.
This four-day, Internet-based count is part of Birdhouse Online, a new web site cosponsored by the Cornell Lab's Nest Box Network and NABS, with support from the National Science Foundation. Since March 1, 1999, Birdhouse Online has been collecting information from across the continent about cavity-nesting birds (birds that nest in natural holes in trees and in constructed nest boxes) such as chickadees, swallows, and bluebirds. The site features maps for each species, regularly updated, with numbers and any indications of breeding, such as nesting materials, eggs and young.
"There are thousands of nest boxes out there," says Andr Dhondt, director of the Cornell Lab's Bird Population Studies program. "We need to know what's going on inside each one. We can use what we learn about one species of cavity-nesting bird to better understand and protect all cavity-nesters."
But, adds Dhondt, a nestbox is not a requirement for participating in the Internet count. Anyone who sees bluebirds, kestrels, or other cavity-nesting species is invited to visit the web site and enter sightings.
The bluebird count was developed to focus the nation's attention on cavity-nesting birds for one weekend of the year, at a time when birds in the South are a good way into nesting and birds farther north are just starting. Although the count encourages participants to submit sightings of more than 30 species, the Cornell Lab and NABS named the count for the bluebird because it is a symbol of conservation success.
Bluebirds suffered serious population declines during the early part of the 20th
century. Bluebirds cannot excavate their own nest holes and m
Contact: Allison Wells
Cornell University News Service