Baltimore orioles, like this one, establish lovely sock-like nests out of plant fibres and horse hair.
Ever since I discovered my first robin’s nest as a young boy – and this 1 had four wonderful sky-blue coloured eggs in it – I’ve turn into a enormous supporter of bird’s nests.
Some nests, as you know, are large, painstakingly created adhere by stick, like the bald eagles or ospreys, when other individuals have barely a handful of twigs and a downy feather or two to maintain them with each other, like the nests of mourning doves or peregrine falcons.
But what fascinates me most is the site of these nests, often cleverly concealed, and the materials birds use to build them. Numerous are works of art.
One particular case in point is the nest of the tufted titmouse, a modest, gray-coloured songbird, with rust-coloured flanks, who often travels in tandem with chickadees and frequents our backyard chicken feeders.
Tufted titmice construct a cup-shaped nest in tree cavities, commonly chiseled out and deserted by other birds.
“They line this cup with smooth components these kinds of as hair, fur, wool, and cotton, sometimes plucking hairs directly from dwelling mammals,” in accordance to allaboutbirds.org.
And astonishingly, naturalists have recognized some of these “soft materials” as hair from raccoon, opossum, canine, fox squirrel, purple squirrel, rabbit, horse, cow, cat, mouse, woodchuck, and even human hair.
Another favourite nest-builder of mine is the ruby-throated hummingbird. These minimal wonder employees use sticky strands of spider silk to establish their nests.
Here’s George Harrison and Kris Wetherbee in a current Birds & Blooms journal article, describing how they do it:
“Hummingbirds establish velvety, compact cups with spongy floors and elastic sides that stretch as the younger develop. They weave with each other twigs, plant fibers, and bits of leaves, and use spider silk as threads to bind their nests with each other and anchor them to the foundation.”
Chimney swifts, swallow-like birds that really pretty much stay on the wing, flying from dawn to dusk, devouring wide numbers of flying bugs around our towns in the summertime, are another species of bird who use a sticky substance, their have saliva, to aid them glue a half saucer-like nest of twigs to the inside of partitions of chimneys or hollow trees.
Yet another marvel is the Baltimore oriole nest. “It seems like a sock hanging from the conclude of a branch,” claimed a person ornithologist pal of mine.
For the duration of the 7 days-lengthy method, female orioles use their extended, slender beaks to weave plant fibers, horsehair, fishing line, cellophane wrappers, and no matter what else she and her mate can uncover to create the remarkable sock-like nest.
The woman cardinal is an additional that wows me.
This clever bird “crushes twigs with her beak until finally they are pliable, then turns in the nest to bend the twigs all around her body, pushing them into a cup shape with her feet,” according to allaboutbirds.org.
Last but not least, this coming spring, I urge you to walk your yard and observe for robins secretly diving into shrubbery and setting up nests. The telltale is when they are carrying grass, twigs , or small clumps of mud in their beaks. That is when you genuinely know they’ve observed a place and are really hard at perform.
Monthly bill Hobbs is a contributing author for the Moments and Estuary magazine. He lives in Stonington and can be arrived at for responses at [email protected]