Nesting Habits Of Wild Birds Varies A Great Deal

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There Are Many Questions To Be Answered About The Nesting Habits Of Wild Birds:

  1. Where Do Birds Build Their Nests?
  2. Why Do Some Birds Nest Close Together?
  3. What Do Birds Use To Make Nests?
  4. See The Picture Gallery!
A large bird approaching a nest box with babies in it. Nesting Habits Vary in the Bird Kingdom

Where Do Birds Build Their Nests?

Variety Is King When It Comes To Wild Bird Nesting Habits!

Then there are birds who like to nest in trees which we are all quite familiar with.

Some inside the tree in a hole and others on a branch.

The instinct to boreholes is so strong in Woodpeckers they usually excavate a new hole every year.

Woodpecker pairs most often share the task of hollowing out the holes in trees in which to raise their young.

This provides a wonderful service to other cavity-nesting species.

The next year another species of bird will use a Woodpeckers cavity for their own homes, such as Chickadees, Nuthatches, or Flycatchers.

We can help cavity-nesting birds by erecting birdhouses. See a good variety of birdhouses here.

Other birds such as the Turkey Vulture just pick a spot on the ground and call it home for their babies.

Killdeers and Nightjars like the Common Nighthawk, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Chuck-will’s-widow, and others of that family, also successfully nest on the ground with very little construction involved.

Some birds nesting habits drive them to build elaborate hanging basket style nests like the Baltimore Oriole.

There are birds that build their nest in burrows, in river banks, or on the face of a cliff.

Wild bird homes can be found in many different places!

Barnacle Geese have an Intriguing Nesting Habit Too

The story of Barnacle Geese which nest and raise their young in Greenland and other arctic regions are not that unique, but none the less incredible.

They choose the most impossible location, very high on rocky cliffs where their young will be safe from predators, like the arctic fox.

But when the goslings are only 3 days old the adults call their young to jump from their safe, soft, downy lined bed to the ground below.

The drop is some 120m/400ft, so they can feed on grass, otherwise, they will starve.

There are a number of other arctic birds that practice similar nesting habits where the young birds must plunge downwards from great heights at the call of their parents.

Yet, it works and the species carry on.

Why Do Some Birds Nest Close Together?

What Is The Difference Between Solitary Nesting Birds and Colonial Nesters?

There is no one place that covers all bird nesting habits.

Some birds like a solitary situation when finding a location for building a nest and others are communal.

American Goldfinch requires an area that they defend against other
Goldfinches preventing them from nesting too close.

Which is true of many other types of birds.

Although, in the fall and winter months you will see them in groups wandering about feeding together.

The Great Blue Heron is the exact opposite in its nesting habits to the American Goldfinch.

The Great Blue Heron will come together with other birds of its species to build their nests in close proximity to one another, usually near or even over water, often in a swampy area.

This is called a rookery and is a colonial nesting style.

The birds build and rear their young independently of other Great Blue Heron families within the colony, but enjoy the protection such a large group provides.

But during the rest of the year other than to migrate they
are solitary birds, hunting alone.

great blue heron nesting habit is a rookeryRookery, A Great Blue Heron Nesting Nursery

Purple Martins Are Colonial Nesting Birds Too, Who Rely Solely on Humans for Housing In The East

Here is an interesting bit about these birds.

Many people have believed that Purple Martins eat an enormous amount of mosquitoes and are therefore good to have around.

But it turns out that is not true, although they are still good to have around.

Herbert Kale set the record straight.

Kale said it was a Purple Martin House manufacturer who told that untruth to sell his product.

You can read about it in this article:

Purple Martins: The Bird That Relies on Human-Built Nests

published by

The Cornell Lab Of Ornithology says Purple Martins eat beetles, flies, dragonflies, damselflies, leafhoppers, grasshoppers, crickets, butterflies, moths, wasps, bees, caddisflies, spiders, cicadas, termites, and mayflies.

A very wide culinary diet, which probably would include some adult mosquitoes, but why spend the energy on such a small insect when the others provide such a feast!bluebird house for cavity nesting birdsRustic Bluebird House For Cavity Nesting Birds

What Do Birds Use To Make Nests?

Different species of birds use different materials to build their nests.

The type of nest they build, where they like to build it, and what is available will all be factors that make each species nest unique.

List Of Nest Building Material:

Natural Materials

  • grass
  • leaves
  • twigs
  • pine straw
  • bark
  • moss
  • lichen
  • animal fur
  • thistledown
  • feathers
  • downy feathers
  • hair
  • corn husks
  • cornsilk
  • grapevine bark
  • weed stems
  • cattail fluff

What Birds Use for Glue

  • their own saliva
  • mud
  • wedging sticks together
  • weaving twigs and grass
  • spider web

Man-Made Materials Like:

  • paper
  • plastic
  • string
  • yarn
  • wrappers
  • bottle caps

Bird Houses & Building Bird Houses
Book Recommendations

Two modifications I would suggest to any birdhouse plans you make or purchase:

1. Omit to install the perches, as perches only assist predators to get in easier!

2. Make a modification to the birdhouse instructions to make it easy to open your birdhouse so you can clean it out every year in the autumn.

And answer this question before you start your search:

“Do you want a hanging bird home or do you want a birdhouse on a pole, in which case you will need to erect a birdhouse pole?

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How To Build A
Bird House Books

3 Quick Facts About Bird Nests

1. There are so many Pigeons in the world for a very good reason – they can raise as many broods as 8, in one year.

2. Bird nests are the most diverse and unique structures built in all of the animal world.

3. According to the Guinness World Records, the largest nest ever built by a bird, was a pair of American Bald Eagles in Florida near St Petersburg. It was 2.9 m (9 ft 6 in) wide and 6 m (20 ft) deep. When examined in 1963, it was estimated to weigh more than two tonnes (4,409 lb).

Picture Gallery Of Wild Bird Nests

cozy nestWarm, Soft & Cozy

Picture Courtesy of Jennifer Anne Grant

dried reed nestMade of Dried Reeds in the Marsh

great horned owl nestGreat Horned Owl Cavity Nest

nest made of twigsTwigs & Sturdy Grass

bald eagles nestBald Eagle Nest, Big & High

chipping sparrow nestChipping Sparrow Nest

stork nestBuilt on Man-Made Structures

oriole nest sacOriole Nest, Sac Hung from Branch

turkey vultures nest is a spot on groundTurkey Vulture Chick in Nest that Obviously Gets the Job Done

Attribution: Charolais at English Wikipedia

hummingbird nests are the smallestHummingbird Nest, Very Small

The picture series below provides an interesting look into the nesting habits of one species that is an architectural feat.

Whatever method of preparing for and raising their baby birds a wild bird may undertake, it is a wonderful and fascinating experience to watch their nesting habits.

If you know the location of nests you would like to identify then use The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Nest Watch site for help.

Wild bird nesting habits are fascinating. Learn more below.

About Bird Housing

About Baby Birds Which wild birds raise their young in birdhouses and what other ways do parent birds provide housing for their babies?

How to Attract Birds to a Bird House? It does take a lot of patience sometimes to reap the benefits of bird watching with birdhouses in your backyard. Find tips for success here.

Are You a Wild Bird Real Estate Expert? Take the Bird House Quiz! Test your knowledge on birdlife real estate.

Types of Bird Houses

Gourd Houses are #1 Native North Americans were the first to craft gourds
into bird houses to attract wild birds and studies indicate they are the
#1 choice with wild birds.

Roosting Boxes for Bedrooms Provide valuable shelter for birds at any time during the year for night time habitation.

Snags/Dead or Dying Trees Provide many elements of the necessities of survival for wildlife, such as food, escape from predators, nesting sites, roosting spots.

Building Your Own Bird Home

How to Build a Bird House: The Right Way How to build a birdhouse that will actually be used requires a little knowledge but it is not complicated.

Building Bird Houses that Get the Movers Hired You can put up a bird home but will the birds like your location, is the style suitable for them or their neighbors?

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