Ethics to Be Followed.

Rules of conduct

Extreme caution and responsibility needs to be exercised when monitoring nests to ensure safety of birds, nests and nest contents. Observation of birds should not under any circumstances jeopardize the well being of birds. 

The three potential risks needs to be minimized 

  • Unexpected harm to a nest
  • Parental abandonment of a nest
  • Attracting predators to the nest 

Plan and prepare

  • Frequent visit to the nest box could result in parental abandonment of the nest and may also attract predators. 
  • Observe the box from a distance and always carry binoculars with you.
  • Observations needs some planning to avoid unnecessary disturbance to nest

Frequency of visits

  • Adequate to visit the boxes once a week as the breeding season approaches preferably late morning or late afternoon
  • Avoid early mornings as birds are very active during these times with nest building, feeding or egg laying 
  • Late morning or afternoon are best times to observe nest boxes for activity as it provides least disturbance 
  • Visits should be kept brief and minimal

Nesting cycle

  • Important to know the nesting cycle of species of interest
  • Nesting cycle of smaller birds like cinereous tit, magpie robin, mynas, starling last for more than a month while larger birds like owlets last about 6-8 weeks.

Data collection

  • Wait a few minutes before approaching the box to see if the bird leaves on its own. This will be the ideal time to check the nest.
  • Make noise like rustling of leaves to give them ample time to leave the nest. 
  • Nest boxes should be tapped twice to allow the parents to slip away. If a sitting bird does not leave, than it is wise to come back later.
  • Data collection needs to be accurate and precise, written down on printed data sheets. 
  • Don’t rely on digital data entry in the field as signal may be spotty and most electronic devices are difficult to view outdoors in bright light
  • Promptly transcribe data on to computer after returning home

Keep disturbances down

  • Adults will temporarily leave the nest when you are near. So don’t hang around for too long as the eggs or chicks may get cold if left alone. 
  • Avoid getting close to the box when the chicks are about to fledge as this could result in premature fledging.
  • Prematurely fledged young ones have a lower rate of survival 
  • Avoid visiting nest boxes during inclement weather as these can be very stressful on the birds.

Nest predators

  • Nest predators like cats, squirrels (sometimes) can detect human scent and may be smart enough to watch you. So avoid visiting the boxes too often.
  • Avoid nest box installation near brush piles as they tends to attract snakes

Private Land

  • If you want to put up nest boxes in private land approach land owners with utmost respect and explain what you are trying to do. In many cases they will oblige.