Bird nesting sites

A question.
I saw my first song sparrow, back at the site where they have nested for several years (5+). I know they are not rare, and are unlikely candidates for poaching, but should the location be obscured, or is a rough area OK? They are unlikely to be disturbed (the nesting area is part way down a rather steep riverbank), and in past years I have been a bit more precise, but I was wondering what other opinions were. Observation here - Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) from Riverview, Winnipeg, MB, Canada on April 10, 2021 at 10:58 AM by Ian Toal. First sighting of them in the place they nest every year. ·

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Your Accuracy at 329m seems pretty obscure to me but I’m willing to listen.


I don’t see an issue with being more accurate for a common species in a location unlikely to be disturbed.

Relevant recent discussion on potential impacts of disturbance via observation/photography of bird nests here.


Thanks - kind of confirmed what I thought. I’ve never seen the nest - I’ve not even looked for it. They seem content enough nesting beside a path as they come back every year.

I’m a member of a local bird group on Facebook and no nest photos are allowed there for the protection of the birds. For iNaturalist, I think it’s a good idea for all nest locations to be obscured for the obvious reasons, regardless of species abundance.

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I disagree on obscuring all nests, it should be observer’s decision, we already have tons of observations that shouldn’t be obscured, no need to have more automatically.

The problem with obscuring nest locations being left up to the observer is that a significant number of observers, particularly with regard to bird nests and particular bird species, will not have the welfare of the birds in mind… just as a significant number of iNat contributors and observers in general will not follow the accepted bird-watching behavioral code of ethics and will allow “getting that great photo” to overwhelm every other consideration. Sites like this, while serving a larger purpose, also unintentionally provide more incentive for this kind of behavior, in terms of providing both an outlet for it and a bigger audience to appreciate the results (those fantastic photos, or that big life list). Those who are aware of this negative aspect of human nature have a duty to try to counteract it where possible and making obscuring nest locations part of the protocol would help. If a scientifically-significant observation is made, those who need more info can contact the observers to discuss it.

Among the countless other examples of bad behavior that one can cite, I had an on-going demonstration of this unsavory aspect of human nature last summer when great-horned owls chose to nest in a corner of our urban yard. As the nest was visible from the side street and the alley, news soon spread far and wide, and from hatching until the young were finally fledged and able to escape the area, there was a constant crowd of noisy people in the alley all day, every day, standing literally 25 feet away from the perching young with their arrays of cameras trained on them (only our fence, thankfully, keeping them from getting even closer)… in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, to boot. People won’t behave responsibly, which is the problem and why protections are needed.


I already have redwings, lapwings, pochards, etc. that are suffering from habitat loss, not from poaching, obscured and not shown in projects for national park, I don’t want great tit nests being obscured too, I’m ok with all owl observations and all raptor nests being obscured though.

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It’s good that your local bird group prohibits the posting of nest photos on its FB page. Facebook is a “weird” place. It is so easy to stir up a “nature-lover hysteria”. Photos and locations published on FB have caused a lot of damage. I agree with you. All the nest locations should be obscured on iNaturalist.


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