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 bore holes 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 home, such as Chickadees, Nuthatches or Flycatchers.
We can help cavity nesting birds by erecting bird houses. See a good variety of bird houses 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!
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 which 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.
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.
The 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 it's 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.
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
published by blog.nature.org.
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!
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.
grape vine bark
their own saliva
wedging sticks together
weaving twigs and grass
Two modifications I would suggest to any bird house plans you make or purchase:
1. Omit installing 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 bird house 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 bird house on a pole, in which case you will need to erect a bird house pole?
Picture Courtesy of Jennifer Anne Grant
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.
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