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Nests with Flair

Flotsam and jetsam - and quite a bit more!

While small birds gather feathers and fuzz, an Osprey adds material to its showy nest, high on a tree with a broken top - or maybe on a tower. Take branches three feet long; add sticks, bark, and mats of algae; throw in some flotsam and jetsam, and you have an Osprey's nest. It's unfortunate that some of these manmade materials end up being dangerous to the birds. You can help songbirds by buying pre-packaged nesting material from your local wild bird store. Toss in dog hair-combings and pet hair for variety. But please, no dryer lint! It can collect water and harm the nestlings.

Full Transcript

Nests with Flair

Adapted from a script by Frances Wood

This is BirdNote!

[Song of Winter Wren]

Pausing from this robust song, the Winter Wren hops onto a log, deep in a moist conifer forest. It pokes its beak into the decaying wood and plucks out a piece of mint-green moss. Then it disappears into a dense huckleberry bush. The Winter Wren is adding a mossy roof to its cozy nest.  

Meanwhile, high on a tree with a broken top near the water, [Call of the Osprey], an Osprey is adding material to its nest. Branches three feet long, plus smaller sticks, bark, mats of algae – they make up its four-foot nest. Look closely, and you might see … a neon-yellow rope* woven carefully into the structure, or maybe shiny plastic* fluttering in the breeze.

In a mature Eastern woodland, [Ovenbird song] an Ovenbird weaves the nest that gave it its name. The nest looks like a tiny domed oven—right on the ground!
Whether for natural materials or flotsam and jetsam, birds are out searching. You can help. Collect threads* and dog-hair combings, or purchase prepackaged materials—yes, there are such things!—to hang where birds are present. Then watch to see who accepts your offering. It might just be this tiny songster, the Winter Wren. [More Winter Wren song]

Find out more about how you can help improve the world for birds. Come to our website, I’m Mary McCann.


* These manmade materials can be hazardous to the birds. Thread and rope and bailing twine do not break down naturally and the birds may become tangled. It's probably best to stick to purely natural materials.

Songs and calls of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of the Winter Wren and call of the Osprey recorded by G.A. Keller. Ovenbird CD 48 T5 ML 10632 recorded by R.C. Stein.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and produced by John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2005-2017 Tune In to   May    Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#051005nestKPLU  nest-01c

Note: Dryer lint is NOT recommended. It can collect water and cause a nest to fail.

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