Another Nest Finding Technique

by Carl Strang

A few days ago I pointed to one method of finding bird nests: watching birds carrying nest material. Another way is to watch birds carrying food.

Robin caterpillar 2b

I found a robin nest at Mayslake this past week by noticing an adult carrying a worm in its beak, and hearing the cries of the begging babies in the nest. After the parent left I took a quick peek at the nest in a small pine tree.

Robin nestlings b

Minimizing my disturbance, I took a quick photo and left, and within moments one of the parents was back at the nest stuffing another hungry mouth. The same method revealed the savanna white-breasted nuthatch nest. Both parent birds flew to the same spot on the far side of a large bur oak trunk, one of them clearly carrying food. The nest cavity proved to be a knothole.

Nuthatch nest hole b

Nuthatches don’t have the excavating capabilities of woodpeckers, but they can use cavities they discover, removing bits of rotten wood to open them up. They are very secretive, fledging the young early in the morning and taking them some distance from the nest. I seldom have seen fledglings, and hope to be more successful this time.

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