NestCams: Watch birds on their nests and help us find out more about their breeding behaviour!
NestCams is a project of the Konrad Lorenz Research Center for Behaviour and Cognition (KLF, a Core Facility of the University of Vienna, Austria). Citizen Scientists worldwide can participate via the online platform Zooniverse by watching short videos of two bird species - greylag geese and northern bald ibis - at their nests and helping us to find out more about their breeding behaviour. The greylag goose is long-term socially monogamous whereas the endangered northern bald ibis is seasonal monogamous. Both avian model species are free-flying and habituated to the close presence of humans. The birds of the KLF are individually marked with leg rings and the social behaviour of the flock of greylag geese and the colony of northern bald ibis has been monitored over decades. In this project we investigate which behavioural patterns contribute to reproductive success. For this purpose, we equipped a number of breeding facilities with video-cameras that record the behaviour of the breeding birds. In geese, the breeding huts are located on water; for the northern bald ibises the camera is installed in nest-niches in a free flight aviary. Because of the large amount of data collected at the nests, we rely on the involvement of volunteers for the analysis. The citizen scientists code short videos of the birds at the nest and also support the project by asking questions and suggesting improvements in the "Talk". Join the project and help us coding the video material collected!
February 2021: Already 41,000 short videos of nesting greylag geese and northern bald ibis could be coded with the help of more than 5,500 citizen scientists! Greylag goose videos from the 2018 breeding season have all been analysed and those from the 2019 breeding season have been uploaded. The goal is to complete at least 15,000 videos in March and April 2021. To say thank you, small prizes will be raffled among all registered participants.
From previous studies we know that in our model bird species (greylag geese and northern bald ibis) some pair partners are repeatedly successful parents whereas others are not. Reproductive success can be calculated from the number of offspring that survive to fledge. However, the number of chicks that fledge may be different from the number of eggs that hatch. By observing the behaviour of the birds across the breeding period we aim to discover which behavioural patterns contribute to reproductive success.
How to participate
We recommend a registration on Zooniverse to be able to ask questions and discuss with the NestCams team. Please make sure to read the field guide before you start classifying the videos.
Computer and Internet access.