Friday, May 13, 2011

Strange nesting places....

Everyone probably has a funny bird nest story to share--after all, some birds are very resourceful and will nest in all sorts of places, including pockets in clothes on the clothesline, watering cans, flower baskets and window boxes. I've seen birds nesting up under awnings, in gutters and even in traffic lights. My favorite was the family of house finches that nested, not once, but 3 times, on a boat and fed the babies when the boat was in the harbor and waited for its return. Believe it or not, all 3 broods fledged and survived the transition to land....
Last fall we had to take down our beautiful old sugar maple. It had been sick a long time and finally died last summer. It hung over the street and had to come down according to the town. You can see the little wooden brace on the line that was put there by the power or cable company to protect the line from rubbing against the tree branches. When the tree came down, the little wooden brace remained.
It is a little over a foot and a half long and the hole is probably about 3" in diameter. We always knew birds nested in it but it was also covered up by branches and leaves which gave the baby birds some place to crawl about and exercise their new wings. As you can see, this is no longer true.
I heard the babies before I saw the dad arrive to feed them with a mouth stuffed full of bugs. The female left when he arrived and this is himself after I ran inside to get my camera. He has already fed the little ones and will soon be in search of more bugs.

These are English sparrows, also called house sparrows and as I wrote in yesterday's post on birdhouses, these non native birds are very aggressive, very successful nesters. This pair will probably be close to fledging 3 sets of young this year. It's a long fall down to the road and sidewalk but I know that the sparrows down the road have made it from the stop light in a busy intersection every year so I am betting these little guys will make it, or that most of them will.

And you'll be happy to know that they get most of their bugs from around my compost pile. I watch them go back and forth throughout the day. Sort of like a fast food restaurant....

1 comment:

  1. I'm a minor league birder, so this is good info. Thanks. I didn't even know that house sparrows were also called English sparrows--I have plenty in the back yard.