Public Relations Assistant
The Cornell Nest Box
Network is both an informal science project and a nest box monitoring program in North
America. The project is two years old and is a citizen-science project of the
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (CLO). The objectives are as follows:
To learn more about the
breeding biology of cavity-nesting birds that use nest boxes over a large area. This
could never be accomplished by a single researcher alone, which is why we enlist the help
of birders, school children, youth groups, etc.
To help our participants
have fun doing a "hands-on" science project while they learn more about birds
and how to "do" science.
participants decide how much they do. You can have one nest box or 100 boxes.
You can choose to collect data on on topic or all of them. It's up to you.
We appreciate any effort you make, and more importantly, we hope you enjoy the
project and maybe even learn something about birds that you didn't know before.
provide everything you need EXCEPT the nest box, but we tell you how to get one. Our
research kit provides information on the following:
How to build or purchase
a good nest box
Where to put it
How and when to monitor
the box without harming the birds
How to collect valid
How to complete your data
When to expect the birds
Who are the birds you
might find nesting in your nest box, when they lay their eggs, what their nests look like,
also provide software, all the data forms you need, and support when you have questions.
We also share data with others on a case-by-case basis.
Some of the activities
Counting the eggs to
determine maximum clutch sizes
Estimating the number of
feathers in swallow nests
Offering feathers to
swallows (children and adults love this one)
(eggshells or oyster shells) to see if any of your nesting birds are using it
Pairing nest boxes (an
empty one and one with an old nest in it) to learn which box the birds prefer
variables, such as entrance hole size, height, direction, distance from other nest boxes,
accept data on any species that nests in your nest box. All the data being collected
are grounded in scientific questions developed by scientists at the CLO. We report
the results of your research back to you in our quarterly newsletter,
"Birdscope." Results are also shared with the scientific and conservation
community through publications in scientific journals. CNBN participants also have
access to a listserv where you can e-mail with other participants and CLO staff.
the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a non-profit institute, our citizen-science programs are
supported largely by participant fees. Participant fees for CNBN help cover the
costs of the research kit, data forms, and subscription to "Birdscope."
For CNBN, the first year is $20, when you receive your research kit, and $15 for
renewal years, when you receive updates and additions to your kit.
can sign up by calling 1-800-843-BIRD.