Strange birds’ nests contest

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA writes about the subject of this video:

Funky Nests Contest

Whether you find a robin‘s nest on a park statue or a hummingbird‘s nest on your wind chimes, your picture of a bird nest in a funky place can win big in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Funky Nests in Funky Places contest. With nesting season underway, this contest challenges everyone to get outside and watch nature in even the most unexpected places.

“Just start looking,” says Karen Purcell, who created the contest several years ago as part of the Cornell Lab’s Celebrate Urban Birds citizen-science project. “Past experience has shown us you can find bird nests in the most surprising places. We’ve seen them in helmets, old boots, stoplights, store signs, car tires, clotheslines, mailboxes, potted plants, and even a stuffed moose head!”

The Funky Nests contest began May 1 and lasts until June 15. Entries may be photos, videos, artwork, poems, or stories. You don’t have to be a bird expert or an expert photographer. People of all ages are welcome to participate as individuals or with a class, community center, or afterschool program. Prizes include binoculars, bird feeders, cameras, an iPad, and more.

…  visit to enter the contest. Entry deadline is June 15.

8 thoughts on “Strange birds’ nests contest

  1. An extremely bad idea to have a photo competion on nests. Major bird conservation NGOs forbid to have nests and the baby birds on photo competions or forums. Such as Birdforum bans all nest photos. It’s extremely disturbing for parents and chicks!!!!!:((((((


    • Hi Ann, I see!

      The Cornell Lab of Ornithology writes about their contest on their site:

      Important Guidelines to Observing Nests [note by me: these rules are fairly complex, so there is a risk of photographers forgetting one or more of them. Which is an argument for not making photos of nests at all, to keep things simple enough. Probably excepting, eg, seabirds’ colonies on rocks or buildings filmed at a long distance with a good telelens]

      With the help of our friends and colleagues at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch project, we’d like to give you useful suggestions on how to approach nests when observing and photographing them:

      Nest visits shouldn’t last much longer than 1 minute: Please exercise extreme caution and responsibility when searching for nests to ensure the safety of birds, nests, and nest contents; observations of nests should never jeopardize the well-being of birds!
      Don’t check in the early morning: Most birds lay their eggs in the morning, so plan on visiting nests in the afternoon. Also, most adults will temporarily leave the nest when you are near, and eggs and young nestlings can become cold quickly if left alone in the morning.

      Avoid nests during the first few days of incubation: If necessary, observe nests from a distance and approach only when the female leaves the nest.
      Do not approach nests when young are close to fledging: When the young are disturbed during this stage, they may leave the nest prematurely. Young that fledge prematurely usually do not stay in the nest despite attempts to put them back, and their survival rates away from or outside the nest are low. So when young birds are fully feathered and very alert, only observe the nest from a distance.
      Avoid nests during bad weather: If it is cold, damp, or rainy, postpone checking nests until another day. Checking nests during this time can be very stressful for birds.
      Don’t check nests at or after dusk: Females may be returning to the nest for the night, and be alarmed by your presence. The exception to this would be owls, which typically leave the nest at dusk.

      Search carefully: It is critically important that we avoid damaging nest sites. Nests that have yet to be discovered are particularly vulnerable. When searching for nests, move slowly through dense foliage, being careful not to dislodge any nests. The nests of ground-nesting birds, such as Killdeer, Ovenbirds, Bobolinks, and many waterbirds, are difficult to see, so tread lightly and be cautious around potential ground-nest sites.
      Be wary of nest predators: Avoid leaving tracks that can direct predators to nests. Nest predators are everywhere—on the ground, in vegetation, and in the air—and many are smart enough to watch you, so be careful that predators such as cats, crows, and jays are not following you! Also try to not damage or trample vegetation that could expose nests.

      Minimize disturbance at the nest: It is important not to startle a bird as you approach the nest; this may cause it to accidentally knock out eggs or young when it flies off. Before approaching the nest, try to see if a parent is sitting on it. Whenever possible, wait a few minutes to see if the bird leaves on its own. If they do, this is the ideal time to check the nest. If a sitting bird does not leave on its own, do not force it off the nest. In this case, you will need to come back later. Remember to keep each visit brief.
      Never handle birds or eggs in the nest: Eggs can be easily cracked or small nestlings injured, and there is no reason to touch these fragile younglings, despite how cute they may look. Small nestlings are remarkably helpless and may not be able to crawl back into the nest cup if displaced, even inside of a nest box. Children observing nests should always be under the supervision of an adult.
      Don’t leave a dead-end trail: If you plan on visiting the nest frequently, try to take a different route away from the nest site than the route you took to reach it. Walking to the nest and back along the same path leaves a dead-end trail that can lead predators directly to the nest.


  2. Still a bad idea! There’s a reason why the world’s biggest Wildlife Forum, the Birdforum and Birdlife International ban photos on nests!


    • I don’t know why the Cornell Lab of Ornithology differs in this from, eg, BirdLife International. Maybe because their competition is about “funky” nests, so basically nests in a human environment. So maybe the Cornell Lab of Ornithology thought that birds who make their nests in that type of environment are not that scared of photographers?


  3. Nest Photography Guidelines

    Now that digital cameras are so widely available, NestWatchers have more opportunities than ever to snap photos of those cute little nestlings. Indeed, some NestWatchers feel it is less intrusive to snap a photo of the nest contents and examine it away from the nest than to actually open a nest box or peer into a cup nest. This raises many questions among NestWatchers about the ethics of nest photography. Does it impact birds? Should flash be avoided? Can photos be submitted to NestWatch along with data? Below, we offer some guidelines to help ensure that, when appropriate, photos are taken judiciously and with utmost consideration for nest safety.

    First, photos should not be taken every day because the NestWatch protocol stipulates that nests be visited every three to four days, at most. Therefore, photos should not be taken more frequently than your regular nest checks. When it is time for a nest visit, try to keep visits less than one minute. If, after recording your data, you are still under this limit, it is fine to take a picture. Whenever possible, avoid using your flash; if flash is necessary, take only one photo and make sure that there are no nest predators nearby. Never handle the nest contents or remove vegetation to get a better shot; doing so is illegal and can harm the nest. Exercise restraint when taking short videos, and leave the area immediately if the parents are stressed (e.g., alarm-calling, trying to deliver food to nestlings, bill-snapping). If you would like to photograph or film nestlings fledging, do so from a reasonable distance, and use a blind or natural vegetation cover to conceal yourself. Your first priority is the safety of the birds; photography and even data collection are not reason enough to overstay your welcome and stress the birds.

    Photos in moderation aren’t a problem for nesting birds, and, as long as the NestWatch Code of Conduct is followed, nesting data won’t be compromised. You can contribute photos to our Flickr page, or via email, but by submitting photos to NestWatch, you agree to their use in any of our educational or promotional materials (we will credit all work to the original photographers). You retain the copyright to your photos and may share them with others at will. Keep in mind that photo submissions do not replace data entry—we still need your data! For further reading, the American Birding Association and the North American Nature Photography Association have written codes of ethics which we encourage you to consult.
    Thank you for your contributions to science and the birds!

    Jason Martin signature

    Jason Martin, Project Leader

    Robyn Bailey signature

    Robyn Bailey, NestWatch Assistant


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