Boulder County Audubon Society – Nestbox Spreadsheet Instructions
Please follow these guidelines for recording data on your paper forms, and for entering monitoring observations into the Xcel spreadsheet every week. Date: Month and day box was monitored. If box is empty, leave blank. If box is not empty but species unknown, enter UNK or ? Please fill it in each week the box has something in it. Where species is known, use 4-letter codes WEBL for Western Bluebird MOBL for Mountain Bluebird MOCH for Mountain Chickadee HOWR for House Wren, the only wren we get in our boxes PYNU for Pygmy Nuthatch WBNU for White Breasted Nuthatch VGSW for Violet Green Swallow TRSW for Tree Swallow For others, please consult the “Guide to 4-letter bird species codes” or download it from www.bluebirds-boco.org. Nest Status Code: Use only the two-letter codes (one code per date) provided on your monitoring forms, which you enter on your paper forms each week. Enter every week. Enter details in “Comments and Observations”. Here are the codes: NO = No Nest AN = Begin new nesting attempt AFTER a first clutch failed or fledged CN = Completed nest DN = Damaged Nest FN = Flattened Nest with fecal matter, as in after fledging IN = Incomplete Nest – anything from a little grass to a nest with sides but no bottom. NN = Non-avian nest found (describe in comments) RN = Nest Removed, remover unknown Adult Activity Code: Activity of adults seen or heard. Use only the two-letter codes (one code per week – the strongest one you observed) provided on your monitoring forms, which you enter on your paper forms each week. Enter details in “Comments and Observations”. Here are the codes: NO = No adults seen AA = At, On, or flushed from nest BA = building nest or carrying nest material DA = dead adult(s) FA = feeding young at nest RA = remained on nest VA = vicinity of the nest Species:
Young Status Code: Development of the young birds. This did not fit on the multi-box recording sheet. Please keep it in mind and make notes as you monitor. The codes are printed on the single-box form. Here are the codes: (use one each time from hatching on) NO = no young, presumed dead – e.g. you expect to see tiny chicks, but the nest is empty before they could possibly have fledged (predation might have occurred). FY = fully feathered young HY = hatching young NY = naked young PY = partially feathered VY = vocal young, heard only YY = young presumed or known to have fledged. Number of eggs: Number of eggs seen. If you never see a full clutch due to hen remaining on nest, estimate 4-5 eggs with a “?” Number of nestlings: Sometimes difficult to determine. Best guess based on observations. Eggs not hatched: After hatch day, number of eggs that didn’t hatch. Number fledged: Number of nestlings assumed to have fledged. Enter once for a clutch. Comments and Observations: Describe nest if species is unknown, any details that describe what is not presented in the other columns, any other notes related to nesting. If you did not open the box, enter “Did not open” or “DNO”. First Egg Date: Estimate the earliest date the first egg was laid. Hens lay 1 egg per day usually before 8 AM (some exceptions – e.g. PYNU lay all the eggs in one day). If a box is empty one week and has a full clutch the next, assume egg laying started the day after the previous monitoring (most conservative/earliest date is wanted). If a box is empty one week and has two eggs the next, assume the second egg was laid before 8 on the current day, and the first egg the day before. Adjust this date as you gather more info, e.g., actual hatch date. Estimated Hatch Date: Estimate the date the LAST egg in the clutch was/will be laid. THEN, for bluebirds, add 14-15 days of incubation to that date for estimated hatch date. For HOWR, add 13 days. 13-14 days for TRSW. Adjust this date to be the most likely date based on real-time events, such as estimated age of nestlings. Enter this date on next week’s paper monitoring form as well. Do Not Open Date: Calculate and record this date to ensure that chicks do not fledge prematurely due to a box being opened when they might fall/jump out before they’re ready to make it on their own. Add 12 days to the estimated/actual hatch date to get the Do Not Open date. Enter this date on next week’s paper monitoring form as well. Estimated Fledge Date: Fledging and first flight occur between days 14 and 22 after the hatch date. Add 14 to the estimated/actual hatch date to get the earliest estimated fledge date. Adjust this later based on observations when monitoring.