Bird Nests in Bare Trees of Winter

As Egyptian protesters wait for President Mubarak to the fly the coop, see if you can identify these bird nests.

Peterson Field Guide: Eastern Birds' Nests
Flown the Coop
Bay Buddies / By Kathleen Gaskell - Bay Journal

The bare trees of winter offer a wonderful opportunity to examine the empty nests of birds who have migrated to their winter home in warmer climates. Below is a list of birds found in the watershed and a description of their nests. Can you match them up?

1. American Goldfinch

2. Cardinal

3. Catbird

4. Common Grackle

5. Northern Oriole

6. Robin

7. Sparrows

8. Vireos

9. Wood Thrush

A. This nest, with an inside diameter of about 4", contains a layer of mud and is lined with grasses. There are neither sticks nor leaves in the nest’s foundation.

B. This big, bulky nest has a thick inner lining of dark rootlets with a twig and bark strip foundation that frequently features strips of cellophane.

C. This nest hangs like a pouch from the tips of branches, and is frequently found in elm trees. It is woven with hair, yarn and plant fibers.

D. This nest is usually found in a shrub lower than 3 feet off the ground, and may even be built on the ground itself. Grasses are woven into a cup and may be lined with hair or even nylon fishing line.

E. The thick, sturdy walls of this nest are often found in the crotch of a sapling. Small and neat, the foundation of this nest is woven with grasses and the down from milkweeds or thistles.

F. This small nest is usually found in the woods suspended from a forking branch. It is woven with spider silk and plant fibers, while its lining contains fine grasses and pine needles.

G. This large nest is built with a twig and bark strip foundation and lined with grasses.

H. This nest contains a layer of mud with leaves in the foundation and rootlets in the lining.

I. This mud nest contains weed stalks and sticks in its foundation and is lined with grasses. It is about 4 inches in diameter.


1-E 2-G 3-B 4-I 5-C 6-A 7-D 8-F 9-H

Kathleen A. Gaskell, the layout & design editor for the Bay Journal, has been involved with several environmental programs for children.

Flown the Coop
Article: Bay Journal
Jan, Feb 2001

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