Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - March 20, 2008)
What is TBN?
What does TBN stand for? Tampa Bay Newspapers, of course, but to avid and amateur
birders alike TBN also means: The Birdhouse Network. Keep your eye on the
|Illustration by Karen Mitchell Tremmel
|Female screech owls
prefer cavities in which they have successfully raised young in
The Birdhouse Network is an exciting hands-on citizen-science based
research project conducted through the leadership, guidance and support of the
Cornel Lab of Ornithology.
Participants from city streets to remote forests place birdhouses or nest boxes in
their yards or neighborhoods and then monitor the birds that nest inside.
Contributors learn about science while helping cavity-nesting birds by providing
nesting sites in their areas. People of all ages and levels can participate in this
fun project. All one needs is one birdhouse to get started.
The continent wide data base becomes a part of a national database larger
than any one researcher could collect in a lifetime which will help answer
large-scale ecological questions about bird populations. Citizen scientists help
keep tabs on the lives of nesting birds.
Without the data sent in by participants, we would not be able to track
large-scale trends in the reproductive cycles of these birds, says project
leader Tina Phillips. Whether they monitor one box or 100, our participants
are so dedicated to the birds, and the data they provide us year after year are
incredibly powerful. Birds are natures barometers.
This kind of research not only assists us in learning more about these fascinating
creatures, but enables us to learn and analyze our own environment and ecological
needs and concerns for now and in the future.
For 10 years, a network of dedicated birders has made it their mission to help
birds by providing nest boxes where birds can raise their families and by
recording information for scientists.
Together, theyve kept a decade of meticulous records about when the birds
build their nests, how many eggs they lay, and when the gawky fledglings take their
first flights. Combined, they have sent nearly 70,000 nest records to The Birdhouse
These efforts have helped expand scientific knowledge about bluebirds, tree
swallows, house wrens, and other cavity-nesting birds for whom the motto may be
rephrased, Hole Sweet Home.
Join TBN and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology this spring to keep your eye on
the birdy and help scientists develop a clearer picture of the intricate and
fascinating lives of cavity-nesting birds.
Top 10 birds reported by FeederWatchers in the Southeast in 2007:
1) northern cardinal
2) mourning dove
3) Tufted titmouse
4) Carolina wren
5) American goldfinch
6) red-bellied woodpecker
7) Carolina chickadee
8) blue jay
9) downy woodpecker
10) American robin
Download birdhouse building plans, worksheets, landscaping ideas for attracting
birds and more by visiting the Labs Web site at www.birds.cornell.edu
Karen can be reached at: MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.