Projects of the Animal Demography Unit

NERCS - The Nest Record Card Scheme

Apart from the importance of breeding biology to academic ornithology, breeding success is a vital measure of the health of biological populations. Declines in population can be due either to increased adult mortality or to decreased breeding success or some combination of the two. It is therefore integral to the ADU's population monitoring objectives to focus on nest records.

The Nest Record Card Scheme (NERCS) is a long-standing project of BirdLife South Africa and its predecessor, the Southern African Ornithological Society, and has accumulated in excess of 100 000 nest record cards since the 1950s. None of these are computerized, however, and this poses major difficulties for the analysis of trends, as does the rather low rate of returns for most species.

The ADU redesigned the nest record card so that appropriate information is gathered and is compatible with computerized data capture. The revised scheme has been operational since 1995 and, to date, over 2100 cards have been computerised.

A goal of NERCS will be to provide, for selected species, annual measures of productivity.

Resources:

Handbook:
Record cards in PDF and Word format:

See also:

Yellowbellied Bulbul
Photo Pat Claassen
Yellowbellied Bulbul on nest (Tembe Elephant Park)
 
Glossy Ibis chick
Photo Derek Large
Cape Robin sitting on a nest it built in a workshed (Langebaan)