NOTICE: is being shutdown on 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum


Hi all, since a moment, I would like to tag in OSM a place used by birds for reproduction, this is a place used only by these birds (eg. cliff or beach). I look for it in many forums, but I don't find anything. I could be the same thing for mammals. Does anybody have advices for me? Knowing that for my case, I'm looking for a polygon area, but it can also be punctual.


asked 14 Mar '13, 14:56

On%C3%A9sime's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 07 Mar '15, 02:45

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦

First of all the general caveat. DO NOT MAP BIRD NESTING SITES unless they are extremely obvious and well-known.

People steal bird's eggs (including at least one policeman dedicated to protecting them). Other people shoot them. Most wildlife organisations do not even publicise breeding by certain birds until after fledging. Therefore improving the data available for these types of people should be avoided.

That being said there are types of bird colonies, and a limited type of nest, specifically Stork's Nests, which can generally be mapped without impairing the safety of breeding success. The most obvious ones are : Sea-bird colonies of large size (such as the Gannetery at Bass Rock, which was sufficiently well known 200+ years ago for Gannets to be named after it by Linneaus - Sula bassana); some colonial raptor breeding sites in protected areas (such as Peña Halcón at National Parque de Monfraque); and possibly Heronries and Rookeries. A useful rule is that if the quantity of guano is still obvious outside the nesting season then the place is likely to be well-known.

I think one or two have been mapped but I cant find how they were tagged, but this seems to me to a good case of duck-tagging (pun intended), so I would suggest natural=bird_colony, with suitable taxon=* or genus/species tags.

permanent link

answered 16 Aug '13, 19:15

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦
accept rate: 22%


That's actually a good point - I was thinking of the answer more in terms of nesting "areas" than in the precise location of specific nests (the original query sounded like it was about a small area where there are a large number of nests, though it's not clear if the referenced area is big enough to count as a "colony" [my biology background is in microbiology, where "colony" means "there are enough of them that you can see them without a microscope"]).

(16 Aug '13, 19:56) Epicanis

You could try using or , although they seem to focus on plants.

permanent link

answered 14 Mar '13, 15:42

gormo's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

I'm still new to this so I'm just guessing, but I would guess that gormo there is onto something.

You could use something like "habitat=nesting,taxon=Raphus cucullatus" (insert the actual species of bird you're tagging there, of course...). The part I'm not certain about is whether "nesting" is the appropriate value for the "habitat" tag here, though it seems okay to me (the wiki page for "habitat" says "Habitats designated functional ecological niches", so "nesting sites" might be too specific for "proper" use)

The wiki page for the habitat tag explicitly says "Animal species are not generally static and therefore the mapping of bird sighting etc would not be appropriate but marking nests, dreys, setts or holts etc would be acceptable." so this looks like expected use (and now I know what to tag the "pileated woodpecker" nesting area near my home town with...)

permanent link

answered 16 Aug '13, 17:19

Epicanis's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 16 Aug '13, 17:22

I wouldn't map a Pileated Woodpecker nest. For one it's only a hole now and probably won't be used next year by a woodpecker: it might be a rare Owl. Secondly, see my caveat below.

(16 Aug '13, 19:16) SK53 ♦

Actually in THIS case, it would be a small "area" rather than a specific hole, and it's a place that already has "Pileated Woodpecker" educational signs up pointing out their nesting in the area, so their existence is public. (Not something I'm in a rush to mark, but the question reminded me of their existence).

(16 Aug '13, 19:48) Epicanis

As a birder, experience would suggest that such signage can be treated as "used to nest here". :-). In this case map the signs, but don't trust what they say. Often they're written in an office using old information.

(16 Aug '13, 23:33) SK53 ♦

Well, I can say that Pileated Woodpeckers are still in the area there (a visiting birder reported seeing and hearing them) at least within the last year, but that's also a good point - I have no idea if they're actually still actively nesting in the area necessarily (and in any case I think the presence of the birds rather than the nests is probably the more interesting data point).

I'll have to rethink this before I get around to trying to tag that area.

(17 Aug '13, 18:37) Epicanis
Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 14 Mar '13, 14:56

question was seen: 19,160 times

last updated: 07 Mar '15, 02:45

NOTICE: is being shutdown on 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum