a low stakes question about looking in a bird's nest.
May 11, 2021 9:58 AM   Subscribe

a family of little birds (finches maybe?) have built a nest under my eave and I want to peek at the babies.

it's a little hard to describe the setup.There's a patio cover, whose edge sits under the eave of the single story house. Birdies have set up shop in a very private little corner right above the inner edge of the patio cover, where it's tucked up under the eave.

I've been seeing the parent birds fly up into there with twigs, and I hear a lot raucous twittering now which I think is coming from the nest. I just want to see. I don't really want to bother them climbing up with a ladder, and I also don't think there's room for a ladder in the tucked-back corned where they are.

I don't have a selfie stick. I could buy one off Amazon for $10, and that might be the best solution, but $10 to attempt to peek at a house-bird nest seems wasteful.

I'm reluctant to involve anyone else (e.g. borrowing a selfie stick off someone from Nextdoor) as I want to be able to abort mission if it looks like it's bothering the birds; plus I'm not sure what's up there.

Standing on the ground, I'd need a stick of about... say 2-2.5 feet... to be able to see, with either a phone camera or maybe a mirror. I do own at least one yardstick. I don't have a hand mirror.

What are my options?
posted by fingersandtoes to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Best answer: Would this work?
1. Tape or attach phone to yardstick.
2. Start recording video.
3. Lift phone up, record video for a bit.
4. Lower phone, stop video, watch it.
5. Repeat and adjust as needed.
posted by MangoNews at 10:01 AM on May 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: If you are open to spending more money for something that is more useful and less intrusive: a digital endoscope camera that connects to your smartphone ($20-40), has lots of other cool uses for observing science and nature (and home inspection, etc).

I have one similar to this and it's a lot of fun! I bet you could snake it up there pretty often and they'd hardly notice.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:14 AM on May 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: So - if you CAN fit a ladder that would be easiest. You wouldn’t be bothering them long term. Otherwise yeah just tape your phone to a stick.

Source: my college job was around bird behavior at the nest. The in-the-field researchers routinely examine, touch, and film nests along with catching, weighing, and banding birds. Though as a non researcher it’s good to not touch the nest itself but being near it is fine.

If you do want to spend some money or borrow something- putting a camera up there for a while could be cool! Birds are weird and fun to watch grow. I know. I did it for hundreds of hours.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:40 PM on May 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When we were younger we were taught that birds will abandon a nest if they smell a human. This is an exaggeration told to stop us from messing with the eggs or babies. If you are careful with the ladder, I think it would be okay to just climb up and peek.

We have a pair of robins nesting on our front door right now (on top of the Christmas wreath) and when one of the parents sits on the nest, they can see in our window. We also have two cats and one is stupid/daring enough to jump up and hit the window when he hears the birds. A few days ago, he got his claws into the window trim so he could hang there for like 5 seconds. They parents will fly away if we or the cat get too close, but they always come back.
posted by soelo at 2:07 PM on May 11, 2021

Response by poster: update: I did what MangoNews said, taped the phone to a broom and stuck it up there. It was tricky to maneuver as I didn't know exactly where to aim, but I did wind up with a video of the nest and four or five beady-eyed, tufty-headed little uglies sitting in it. Success!!
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:49 PM on June 21, 2021

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