When admiring a freshly made bird nest, my grandfather would whistle and say, “they put us to shame.” He was impressed with the nests’ efficiency, beauty, and that they make them without hands. Another amazing thing about bird nests? Almost every species makes a unique type of nest.
Today, we challenge you to find at least one bird nest and try to identify the bird species who made it. Key clues to solve this mystery are:
- material the nest is made out of (leaves, moss, sticks, spit, dirt?)
- habitat type in which you found it (the woods? Near water? A field?)
- its size
- height off the ground (on the ground? In bushes? High in a tree?)
Compare your clues to the descriptions of nests at allaboutbirds.org (which has lots of other great bird information too!).
If you are quiet and patient, you might also see:
- What the eggs or chicks look like
- Parent birds coming and going
That will definitely help you figure out what kind of birds made the nest!
Some of the easiest nests to identify in Southeast Ohio are made by Baltimore orioles. They weave bag-like nests out of milkweed and other plant fibers. See the nest below on the left, and the male oriole on the right: