Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

Search for a News Release

Press/Media inquiries:

DNR News Releases

Is it okay to look in a bird's nest?

  • 5/8/2019 12:46:00 PM
  • View Count 5889
  • Return

This time of year is very busy outdoors. Birds are in the process of building and rebuilding nests, sitting on eggs or taking care of their young.

However, not all birds nest at the same time. Some start as early as mid-February, such as great horned owls. And some as late as August, such as the American goldfinch.

Is it okay to look in birds' nests or birdhouses?  |  Iowa DNRChildren - and many adults - want to help the bird nesting process, which can be a benefit or a fatal problem for the birds.

Help by providing structures for eastern bluebirds, wood ducks, American kestrels and house wrens, to name a few. Houses should be built ahead of the appropriate nesting season, erected in the correct habitat, maintained to serve the birds and allow you to enjoy your efforts.

This can be a great activity to involve someone new to the outdoors. Watching birds is a popular activity. Make a game by observing birds and keeping a list.

In time, you may want to add binoculars and a bird identification book, such as Birds of North America, a Golden Field Guide from St. Martin’s Press by Chandler Robbins, Bertel Bruun, and Herbert Zim.

But what about looking in the nest? Disturbing the nesting process creates problems - checking nests at inappropriate times, handling chicks or allowing pet access to the area is detrimental.

It is OK to observe birds from a distance, whether using binoculars or peering at a nest outside your window. Some birds use the same nest each year, so leave them for reuse.  

Get out this spring and watch the birds near your house. You will be amazed at what you see!