camerart's picture

Photographing nests

I recently found a Long tailed Tit's nest with fledglings.

My first though was to not worry the birds too much, so I waited till they left to find food. I placed the Camera 10 feet away and watched to see if the birds carried on feeding. They did so I left the Tripod over night at about 5 Ft From from the nest. This was fine. From the 1000s, I have posted a couple of these here.

My feelings are to simply leave them now, but I have better Cameras. Should I try to get better shots, if I monitor the birds behaviour to make sure they are not disturbed.

Another question: As these photos are time stamped, is it interesting to extract the comings and goings times?



anonymous spotter's picture

Caution advised -

although birds will often tolerate this sort of disturbance, it doesn't mean that they like it!
They may choose to avoid the area next season, and in the worst case they could desert the brood.
In my limited experience, if you are careful (sometimes you just have to work close to nests) this is unlikely, but I believe it varies with species - some are much more likely to "do a runner". Professionals use remote-control cameras and hides for a reason!
All data on bird behaviour is valuable, but it needs to be coordinated and analysed. In isolation, it may be of little value compared to the risk of disturbance, I think.

Ray Turner's picture

Schedule 1

It should also be remembered that some birds have legal protection and to disturb them is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), the birds in question are found on the Schedule 1 list. Details can be found at:

The RSPB and BTO websites also have much information on this subject as do many others I’m sure.

I would echo RogerR’s caution and I would advise extreme discretion when photographing any bird particularly during the breading season. However I have to admit Long-tailed Tits on the nest were one of my first proper bird studies and I took many photos. This was many moons ago now (c 35 years) but I still have very fond memories of that time.



Martin Harvey's picture

nesting birds

Thanks for the advice given above. In fact iSpot policy is that photos of nesting birds should not be uploaded to the site, in order to avoid any chance of disturbance, regardless of whether any disturbance was apparent. In some ways it is a shame that this ban has to be in place, but it does seem to be the safest option in order to make it clear that any potential for disturbance is to be discouraged.

However, we are aware that we don't currently make this policy very evident on iSpot, and we will shortly be updating our terms of use in order to make this clearer to iSpot users.

Apologies to anyone who feels that this is an unnecessarily harsh policy, but we believe it is the best option for safeguarding nesting birds.

Entomologist and biological recorder

camerart's picture

Thank you for your

Thank you for your comments.

My Camera has an automatic program that takes photos when there is movement, then it takes a number of photos, so I am not present while photos are being taken. Being digital it is very quiet. The Camera is also covered with a green cover, which as it happens is waterproof, so only the lens cover is showing.

Even so I didn't go back, but I would have dearly loved to.