What is a Control Sheet?
  • A Control Sheet (clink link to see an example and also see example below) can
    be a vital part of your Tree Swallow project.  
  • Control Sheets provide structure and organization by displaying crucial
    information about nests that allow you to see when each box should be
    checked and when it must not be disturbed.
  • Control Sheets present basic nesting data for each nest that can be used in
    assessing reproductive performance, making comparisons among nesting
    attempts, and when compiling Season Summaries.

How do you use a Control Sheet?
  • Control Sheets are data grids with headings at the top.  They are more complex
    than the other record sheets and may require practice to use, but you'll come to
    see how handy and important they are.  Examine the fields one by one.  

Control Sheet data fields:
  • Box #:  A list of the numbers of every box in your project.  Each box will have its
    own series of spaces for numerical data entry spread horizontally across the
  • Egg Date:  There is a space for the date the first egg was laid and another
    space for the date of the last egg.  Tree Swallows lay one egg per day, never
    more than one, so even if you make infrequent box checks you should be able
    to count backward and forward to determine first and last egg dates.  It's
    especially important to know the last egg date because it helps pinpoint the date
    when hatching will occur.
  • Clutch #:  The total number of eggs laid by the female for this clutch.
  • Egg #:  The total number of eggs present on the last box check before
    hatching.  This may be different than clutch # because eggs sometimes are
    removed by nest competitors.
  • Last Egg Plus 3 6 9 12:  These are the calendar dates counting by threes from
    the date the last egg was laid.   The female is incubating during this time and
    box checks need not be made at this box more often than every three days.  
    Since Tree Swallow incubation lasts about 14 days you should try to check for
    hatching soon after day 12.  The dates can be crossed out lightly by pencil after
    they've passed.
  • Hatch Date:  The date you believe or know the majority of young in a nest
    hatch.  Many people use the date the first egg hatched as their official hatch
    date.  If you aren't able to check a box at the anticipated hatch time count 14
    days from the date the last egg was laid and enter that as the hatch date.
  • Brood #:  The number of young known to hatch.  This is often less than the egg
    clutch number because not all eggs in every nest hatch.
  • Hatch Date Plus 3 6 9 12:  These are the calendar dates counting by threes
    from the hatch date.  Adults are feeding nestlings now, and box checks need not
    be made at this box more often than every three days.  Knowing these dates is
    very important for three reasons.  The best time to trap and band adults is
    between hatching and day 6.  Nestlings should be banded at day 11 or 12, no
    sooner and no later.  And perhaps most important, knowing hatch date plus
    12 lets you see when box checks at this box must stop.  The dates can be
    crossed out lightly in pencil after they've passed.
  • Brood # D 12:  The number of young alive at the day 12 box check, or on the
    closest day before day 12.
  • Fledge #:  The number of nestlings that appear to have left the box alive,
    determined by subtracting the number of dead young found in the nest after
    fledging is complete from the brood number counted on day 12.
  • Totals:  Egg #, Brood # at hatch, Brood # at D 12, and Fledge # can be totaled
    and written under their respective columns (see example 3).

Note that in the example above the numbers were filled in as they either occurred or
could be determined.  As the egg and hatch dates plus 3, 6, 9 and 12 passed, each
box was X'ed over lightly in pencil.  This makes it easier to see at a glance which boxes
should be checked and when.

Control Sheets for Tree Swallow Projects
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