Watching bird nests is a popular and treasured activity for all age groups, something many people already do for their own enjoyment. NestWatch is a bird monitoring program in the United States and Canada founded in 2016, where recreational bird watchers can log the activity of their local nests in the NestWatcher database either through their online portal or through NestWatchers mobile app. Watchers first become “certified” on the NestWatch website, giving them a basic understanding of how to count and track activity in a nest. Watchers are also given instruction on how to use the app and website to properly identify the species of bird by the markings, or even the characteristics of the eggs. Recorded information includes when nesting occurs, the species of bird occupying the nest, the number of eggs, how many eggs hatch, and how many hatchlings survive. The database compiled by NestWatch is intended to better understand how climate change, habitat degradation and loss, and non native species are changing native bird biodiversity. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology oversees Nest Watch, as well as other complimentary bird watching citizen science initiatives, such as eBird and BirdsEye. Overall, NestWatch has massively contributed to years of nesting data collected before the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, with 112,325 nests logged so far. While useful for research, it is worth noting that when the data is visualized through the respective website function, most of the data on NestWatch is concentrated on America’s eastern seaboard.

Van Vliet, K., & Moore, C. (2016). “Citizen science initiatives: engaging the public and demystifying science“.


Biodiversity, Citizen Science, Data, Ecological Monitoring, Internet of Things