About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ever wonder how birds know how to build nests?

Is it an inborn ability all birds have to create an area for eggs? Research has found that the basics in nest construction are primarily instinctive, but birds’ building skills improve through trial and error.

Nests keep eggs and nestlings warm and safe from predators and bad weather. We usually think of them as grasses twisted into a bowl shape high in a tree branch but some birds build nests on the ground, some in bushes, while still others burrow into the sides of cliffs or trees. Barn swallows build mud pellet and grass nests around barns, while House Finches prefer to build near our houses in wreaths or hanging house plants. Wrens will build stick nests in almost any cavity, from empty bird feeders to man-made bird houses.

Sometimes you look at the crazy places birds build nests and ask, why? The answer may be as easy as they’re young. One Eastern Bluebird study in Michigan found the older birds quickly reaffirm the connection to their mate from the previous year and begin nesting earlier than first year males and females. As a result the more experienced birds get to choose the preferred nest boxes and the younger birds are relegated to the less perfect natural cavities or mailboxes.

Related Articles:
Bird Nest Basics http://bit.ly/sqNq0u
Is it too early to put up a birdhouse? http://bit.ly/tmN9rj
How do you know when a nest is abandoned? http://bit.ly/usMPY8
Goldfinches: The Last Birds Nesting http://bit.ly/sqafTq
5 Tips to Attract Birds to Nest in your Bird Houses http://bit.ly/uWN7fE
Common Backyard Bird Nest Identification http://bit.ly/sVfipj

1 comment:

Tina Coruth said...

This is very interesting!
Thank you!