Finding Nesting Birds in EHP: 2018 Report

Each year since 2010, I keep a record of the bird species that I observe nesting in Eliza Howell Park. As of July 1, I have seen 22 different species actively nesting in the park this year. It is possible that I will still add to the number (last year I found American Goldfinches, a late-nesting species, building nests in July), but this seems like a good time to report.

This list is only of those species whose nests I actually find, and does not include those I only see carrying food for their young or feeding fledglings; I need to actually find the nest. The total number of species over the 9 years is 34.

At the bottom, I list the 22 species. The pictures, all taken in 2018 in EHP, provide a few examples of experiencing the nests.

The latest found is also one that I have not found in the park prior to this year – Red-eyed Vireo. The nest, built the last week of June, is likely the second brood for this pair.

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Photo by Margaret Weber

Note how the vireo has twisted its body around to look at us, without getting off the eggs.

Much earlier in the nesting season I came across this ground nest of a Killdeer. It is not much of a nest in terms of construction, but is wonderfully camouflaged. (For more on this, see my April 24 post, “Killdeer: A Story of Nest and Eggs.”)

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Normally, I find a nest only when the bird’s behavior leads me to it; it is unusual to find nests by simply looking for nests. But, occasionally, I see a nest before I see the bird. In April, when shrubs were still free of leaves, I saw this nest.

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Revisiting it, I found a female Northern Cardinal incubating. One day, when she was absent, I took a picture of the inside.

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Most birds that nest in Eliza Howell are quite featherless and helpless when they first hatch (Killdeer, duck, and goose hatchlings are the only exceptions). American Robins are the most common nesting species in Eliza Howell and I stole a very quick picture of the inside of one nest shortly after hatching.

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The Blue Jays being fed below are much further developed.

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Photo by Margaret Weber

I wrote a couple weeks ago about watching a pair of Mourning Doves building a nest (posted June 13). At last look, incubation continues. This is probably the male on the eggs. I cannot tell that from observation, but those who study Mourning Doves report that the male usually takes the day shift and the female the night shift.

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Photo by Margaret Weber

——-

Nests found in 2018          (** = nest in tree cavity)

  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Killdeer
  • Mourning Dove
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker**
  • Northern Flicker**
  • Downy Woodpecker **
  • Barn Swallow
  • Tree Swallow**
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Blue Jay
  • American Robin
  • Eastern Bluebird (bird box)
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Yellow Warbler
  • European Starling **
  • Common Grackle
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Orchard Oriole
  • Northern Cardinal

Finding nesting birds is definitely a highlight of my spring and early summer. Thanks to Detroit Audubon field trips, every June since 2011 I have had the opportunity to share some of this excitement with others.

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