Anaya K. 2023 | BASIS Independent Silicon Valley
- Project Title: (Nest)Boxing: Combatting Native Bird Population Decline
- Basis Independent Advisor: Dr. Ivana Bozidarevic
- Internship Location: Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society (SCVAS)
- Onsite Mentor: Carolyn Knight
Everyone in their lives has decorated or built a birdhouse, but they actually play a valuable role in scientists’ efforts to study birds’ nesting behavior. It gets a little bit more complicated than birdhouses, though. The six-paneled wooden boxes are called nest boxes, and have very specific dimensions to ensure that their purpose is fulfilled. Small tree-dwelling birds use these boxes to nest in lieu of habitat destruction, and it is up to monitors to keep track of these birds. Studying nesting patterns allows for ornithologists to understand trends in native bird populations. While birds seem like a relatively unimportant aspect of our lives, they play a vital role and fill an important ecological niche. They act as natural pollinators and predators, keeping invasive wildlife at bay while simultaneously facilitating the growth of native wildlife. As a nest box monitor of two years, I have learned the ins and outs of caring for these birds and checking their nests without harming them. Along with that, I have also built numerous new nest boxes to replace old, dilapidated boxes. My senior project aims to teach people how to not only monitor nest boxes, but also how to build them and monitor them in their own backyards. By creating easy to read and self-illustrated pamphlets, I aim to make monitoring nest boxes and birdwatching recreationally more accesible to the public.