Bird Eggs in the Nest: Part 1

In my efforts to learn as much as I can about the nesting practices of the birds in Eliza Howell Park, I try to get close looks at the nests I find if possible. When the incubating parent is absent and if I can actually see into a nest, I take a picture.

The quality of these pictures is not always good because of limited access and because I am in a hurry to depart (so that the parent feels free to return).

NOTE: In each of the photo pairs that follow, the nest picture is mine and the bird photo is Margaret Weber’s.

For the first time, a few days ago I was able to get close enough to look into a Blue Jay nest.

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20180824_131359Blue Jays nest in trees, usually 10 – 40 feet high. This nest is unusually low, between 6 and 7 feet high, though it is in a thicket. I found it the way I find many nests, by watching where the bird goes when I see it carrying nesting material.

There are many nests (most) that I cannot look into because they are too high or are in tree cavities. I  occasionally make use of a step ladder, which I did to get this picture of a Barn Swallow nest.

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Barn Swallows often make use of human constructions for nesting locations (such as barns and bridges), building its mostly mud nest (with some plant fragments and feathers added) on a ledge next to a vertical wall and usually under a roof or overhang. The one in the photo was under the roof of a shelter in the park.

A few bird species nest on the ground. These nest are very well hidden, the primary method of protecting them from predators. These the ones that I find, when I find them at all, only as the parent flies off the nest when I unknowingly walk too close.

Mallard, one of two duck species that nest in the park, is a ground nester.

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As with most other ducks, the female does all the parental care, including all the incubating. When I startled her off the above nest, she must have knocked one of the eggs out of location.

The Gray Catbird nests in very thick vegetation, usually 4 – 10 feet high. Because of the location, it is often difficult for me to get a close look, even when I know where a nest is located.

Resized_20200413_22041820191001_131426While it is not unusual for me to find a Catbird nest, it is difficult to point them out to park visitors because of how inaccessible the locations are.

It IS unusual for me to find Song Sparrow nests; I was looking for about 10 years before I found one. Whenever I saw a Song Sparrow carrying something (nesting material or insects to feed the young), I would watch. And it would watch me back, never going to the nest as long as I was there.

I found this nest when the incubating bird flew out at my feet as I was walking through high grass and flowers near the tree line.

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20180116_085155Song Sparrows nest on the ground in thick plants or very low in shrubs or trees.

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In the last 15 years, I have observed some 40 different bird species nesting in Eliza Howell Park. I have pictures of nests with eggs of about 1/4 of these in my slowly growing collection.

I plan to post more nest photos soon, in Part 2.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Bird Eggs in the Nest: Part 1

  1. Your photos are always great on this site. I want to share them with my photography club that I go to — especially the bird pictures are an example of what I wish I could get. I think birds are exceptionally hard to photograph, but it looks easy and natural on this site. Thank you!

    Like

    1. Thank you! As you have noticed, I make mych use of Margaret’s bird photos.
      Feel free to share the blog postings; they are for anyone interested. But downloading and using individual photos should, of course, only be done with explicit permission.

      Like

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