110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Nature Scenes: Birds’ nests vary widely
By Lynn Bowen
posted May 12, 2014 - 1:43:34pm
The sole purpose of a bird’s nest is to have a place for the female bird to bond with her mate while giving the birds a place to raise their young. The nest is not a bird’s home.
There are many styles of nests that birds instinctively build. Of course, one option is for the bird to use no nest at all, like the Muscovy duck in DeLand in the photo accompanying this column.
Scrape, mound, burrow, cavity, cup, saucer and pendant nest are some of the delightful varieties of nests that birds construct without ever visiting a lumberyard, furniture store or bedding shop!
Some local examples of nest-builders are black skimmers, who make scrape nests that are merely a dent in the sand or soil and lined with vegetation.
Sandhill cranes build large mound nests from soil, branches, sticks, twigs and leaves in marshy areas.
Woodpeckers usually use dead tree cavities to make a simple nesting hole, lined only with wood chips produced as the hole was made.
Hummingbirds construct extremely tidy, precise cup nests hidden in trees. So camouflaged are these 1.5-inch-in-diameter nests that they look like knots in the tree. Hummingbirds use moss, lichens, dryer lint, and leaf hairs, and glue it all together with spider webs.
Hawks use big sticks to build large, shallow saucer nests high in trees.
Burrowing owls build underground burrows for their nests, making it difficult for predators to harm them.
Orioles commonly construct pendant nests, which are sacs woven of grass and plant fibers that hang from trees.
Killdeers lay their eggs by small rocks on the ground, which is no nest at all. They use tricks like “the broken wing act” to lure dogs, foxes, people and other predators away from their eggs. The eggs themselves are camouflaged because they resemble stones.
Then be aware that Muscovy ducks lay eggs at the base of a tree not lined with anything, thus another example of no nest at all.
These are just a few examples of the talents and instincts that our fascinating, feathered friends use to provide a place to bond with their mate and have a crib for their young.
— Bowen lives in DeLand. Send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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