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. Suan -- Cayugabirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://email@example.com/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds 3) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --