Thanks, Dave.

As Cayuga Bird Club I've been wondering what, if anything, we could do
about the situation. One dimension would be outreach and education and
increasing general awareness, for which CAC chair Jody has stepped up to
solicit volunteers, thanks! But I'd also toyed with a pipedream idea of
whether the club could establish a corps of volunteer surveyors who, upon
request by any interested farmer, would go to a field and try to map out
nest sites and mark off sub-sections of the field that the farmer may be
willing to leave alone for the sake of the birds.

I've never tried finding nest sites of field birds before; I suspect it can
be hard. I'd be interested to hear of any work or techniques that can be
workable to "an average volunteer". Perhaps Reuben has some hints or
suggestions. I know that Reuben is a very acute observer of birds, and
would place his skills at above average; ideally, we would like to
establish some methodology that can be effectively applied by one of
"average" observational skills.

Just spitballing, I imagine a workable technique would involve first
installing flags to establish a grid over the field, then having at least
two observers situated on orthogonal axes communicating with walkie-talkies
to triangulate the grid location of an observed bird flying into or out of
a likely nest. Flag installation should probably happen a day or two in
advance, and could conceivably be done by the farmer ahead of time. Flag
installation may also flush birds from potential nest sites, and notes on
such observations should be taken as well. The flags will need to be marked
such that they can be read from both axes, and be easy to interpolate.
Using letters and numbers is the obvious choice, but the markings would
have to be on stiff cards facing both axes. Another option is to use color
coded flags, but interpolation may be tricky, as one needs to be able to
quickly locate the grid "between the green and blue flags", say. Something
involving two digits of rainbow colors could be workable, but it gets
complicated fast with two axes to label.

If anyone is interested in volunteering for such a survey, please email me.
I don't know if this idea will go anywhere, but having a sense of potential
interest could be a starting point. Also, if any farmers are willing to let
us test out techniques, email me as well. I suspect we won't be able to do
anything this season, but if the stars align (enough volunteers sign up and
a farmer offers a field to test) we could potentially try doing something
within the next week or two of peak nesting. More likely is to think about
possibly doing something next season, perhaps on one of Cornell's
agricultural fields that started this thread?

Curious to hear people's thoughts.



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