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nesting

Helpers at the Nest

Brown Jays, like this juvenile, make nesting a family affair. The entire flock takes care of a single nest, which holds four eggs laid by one female in the flock. Each bird brings food to the young. And when the young first leave the nest, the helpers teach them to find food and recognize danger,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Mating for Life

Most bird species in North America mate for a single breeding season. Some may team up again the following year, just because both stay in - or return to - the same territory. Fewer than one-fifth of Song Sparrow pairs, like these, are reunited. Hawks, eagles, and ravens have wide territories,... read more »

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Sounds of the Boreal Forest

The boreal forest is a vast band of spruce and poplar, extending from coast to coast across Alaska and Canada. Called North America's "songbird bread-basket," for a brief time, it teems with song. Birdsongs heard on this show include a Common Loon (like this one), Swainson's Thrush, White... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, vocalization

Bullock's Oriole Weaves a Nest

The Bullock's Oriole is the only member of the oriole family that nests in the Northwest. With a slender, sharply pointed bill, the oriole weaves a marvelous pouch-like nest that hangs suspended from its upper rim. The nest hangs downward four to eight inches. The female weaves together long,... read more »

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Bullock's Oriole - Blaze of Orange

A dazzling bolt of avian lightning -- a blaze of neon-orange, shooting across a gray, sage-covered hillside on quick wing-beats. It's a Bullock's Oriole, sailing out from its nest among the upper branches of a cottonwood, hunting for insects in the shrubby sage. Bullock's Orioles return north... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Paul Bannick Watches Flickers Fledge

Photographer and naturalist Paul Bannick tells of a time in the forests of North Carolina, when he heard Northern Flicker parents urging their chicks to fledge. "There was a young, timid, brown head sticking out of that cavity. I could imagine this bird would be nervous about taking its first... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, photography

Baby Birds Move Out of the Nest

After they leave the nest but before they take flight, many baby birds - especially robins and flickers - spend time on or near the ground. If you see such a baby bird, and your first thought is to "rescue" it, the better thing to do is let it be. Protect it from cats. Then watch from a distance,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, rehabilitation

Eagles Rebuild

Bald Eagles build large stick nests in tall trees. These nests endure rough treatment. Rambunctious chicks pull sticks out and flap madly, holding on with their feet, before they fledge. Wind buffets the nest year round. But eagles reuse their nests year after year. Adult eagles break off dead... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Burrowing Belted Kingfisher

The Belted Kingfisher dashes through the air, warning intruders with its rapid-fire, rattling call. In spring, the best places to see Belted Kingfishers are along sandy banks -- they are busy digging burrows, where they will nest. The holes typically reach three to six feet into the bank, but... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

How Long Does a Robin Live

The mortality rate is high in our familiar songbirds. For robins, it's around 50% each year once young birds have fledged. If a robin survives to midwinter, it lives an average of 1.7 years after that. The oldest robins in your yard might be about six years old, although one banded bird lived... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting, science

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