Record the exact time
If you can superimpose the exact time on your videotape either while recording from the camera or while copying the tape later, you will be able to view in fast forward and start and stop as often as you wish. However, if you must rely on using only the exact start time of the tape and setting a clock to that time as you begin viewing the tape, the clock must be stopped each time you pause the tape to make more popcorn. Any electric dial clock works fine for this purpose, since it can simply be unplugged whenever you pause the tape. And, of course, fast forward cannot be used with this method.
Record the ambient temperature and any other weather parameters possible.
Frequent monitoring of the temperature is almost essential in trying to make sense of any incubation and brooding data. While I have assembled numerous chart recorders, thermocouples and other sensors over the years, the cheap modern digital thermometers with remote sensors are quite accurate and cost less than $10. Of course, without a chart recorder or data logger, you will have to monitor the thermometers as frequently as possible.
When attributing provisioning of the nestlings to either adult, care must be taken to ascertain what is happening outside the nest box. For example, as kestrel nestlings reach the point where brooding is not necessary, the female begins providing most of the prey. However, when the camera indicates that she leaves the nest for only one or two minutes and returns with a vole, it is likely that the male actually brought the prey to a nearby perch, called to the female, and passed off the prey to her at the perch. During the first few days after the female begins to spend time away from the nest, the male often simply drops a vole into the box, although he usually enters the box, but does not prepare the meal and feed the nestlings. The female will often later find the uneaten prey and tear it apart to feed the nestlings.
Nestling behavior also varies greatly with age. For instance, when the young begin to hop up to the entrance hole to be fed, they then gain control of who is fed. The adults simply feed whoever is blocking the hole. Looking at the turn over rate of this coveted entrance hole position would be interesting.
Oct 2003 update A prey cam mounted outside the barn owl nest box this summer proved useful in recording the type of prey brought to the nestlings. Eye level views, both inside and outside the nest box were fascinating, compared to the top down video of previous years. Preliminary barn owl prey data can be found in the 2003 barn owl cam section
The log box with cam mount (right) is offered as a winter roost for downy woodpeckers, but has not yet been used, even though a male downy frequents this tree.
Leaving the camera in your nest box during winter is an easy and unobtrusive way to monitor for winter usage. Checking the monitor once each evening will reveal any use, since the bluebirds will enter at dusk and remain until the next morning. If bluebirds use the box in winter, keeping a record of temperature, wind speed and precipitation may demonstrate a pattern of usage. And, even less is known about winter nest box use by other cavity nesting species, so donít forget the chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers. Also, flying squirrels, white footed mice, and a few other creatures may use your nest box, depending on your location, the entrance hole size, and the habitat surrounding the nest box. Mice will usually build a nest that will block the camera's view. Either trapping the mouse or moving the nestbox will free it up for use by other species.
|Attracting barn swallows with artificial nest cups|
|2010 Update||the flicker drum|
|the flicker nest box||the sliding hole cover trap|
|nest box video 2001-2010||2010 Barn Owl nesting|
|Observations and studies using nest box camera||starling and house sparrow traps|
|2005 brown thrasher nest cam||2005 purple martin gourd cam|
|2004 Carolina wren nest cam||2004 European starling nest cam|
|2004 gray squirrel nest cam||2006 polygamous barn owl nest cam|
|2010 Northern Flicker nest cam||2010 Kestrel nest cam|
|2010 flicker nestbox log||2010 Carolina Wren nest cam|
|2003 barn owl nest cam||2001 American Kestrel nest box cam|
|2002 American Kestrel nest box cam||2001 Yellow Shafted Flicker nest box cam|
|2002 Yellow Shafted Flicker nest box cam||2005 Yellow Shafted Flicker nest box cam|
|Eastern Bluebird nest box cam||Tree Swallow nest box cam|
|Carolina Chickadee nest box cam||house wren nest cam|
|Barn Swallow nest cam||Chimney Swift nest cam|
|Attracting barn swallows||other nestboxes in use|
|Entire site index
Please check here if you can't find something
|email to Richard & Diane|
|American Artifacts articles||American Artifacts catalog|
|barn owl||American kestrel||purple martin||barn swallow||Eastern bluebird|
|tufted titmouse||Eastern phoebe||yellow shafted flicker||tree swallow||chimney swift|
|house wren||big brown bat||Carolina wren||brown thrasher||catbird|