Bonnie Ott

Finding nests and observing the parents and young can be a fun, interesting, and a learning experience. Many years ago this pastime was very much in vogue but has since faded in popularity. Members of MOS collected nest record data for decades. MOS retains a large collection of these nest records, with the data in the form of cards, one card per nesting record. An effort was started some years ago to transfer the old data to a database and can use your help.

Whether or not your record nest behavior, either as part of a project like atlasing or just for fun, you should follow guidelines for observing nests. You may also be interested in how a nest data card was filled out. If you wish to learn about the nest record database, please contact the MOS Nest Record chair. Please note that nest records are not under the purview of the Maryland Records Committee.

Instructions for Safe Observations of Nests

Observations of birds during reproduction require proper technique during the recording of events from the nest building through fledgling stage. Generally, birds will be more likely to abandon their nesting attempt early (e.g., during nest building or egg laying) than late (i.e., during nestling stage). This requires careful observations when a
nest is found. In addition, predators may cue into actions that you may unknowingly provide when attempting to monitor a nest. This set of instructions is to provide a general guide to safe nest observation to provide information for the Nest Record Program for the Maryland Ornithological Society.

Download Instructions for Safe Observations of Nests

Instructions for Completing Nest Record Cards

The following describes how to complete a Nest Record Card. After finding a nest (see Instructions for Safe Observations of Nests), record the necessary information as described in the document below.

Download Instructions for Completing Nest Record Cards