Archive for Nests

House Wren chicks 8/15/18

Believe it or not there are 7 House Wren chicks packed into this nest I found under the eave of an entryway. They’ll be fledging shortly, it’s hard to imagine any of them moving about without pushing one of its sibs out of the nest. House wrens build twiggy nests in a wide variety of cavities or other protected places such as garages, flower pots, nest boxes, and brush piles. They are quite common little brown songbirds with a loud burbly song frequently repeated.


Dark-eyed Junco female and nest 7/26/18

Dark-eyed Juncos are sparrows, only unlike their brown and streaky cousins the eastern subspecies are mostly charcoal gray with white bellies and white feathers edging their tails. Females like the one above, and juveniles have more brown in them. Junco subspecies from other parts of North America sport different plumages. They are ground birds, foraging on the forest floor for seeds but during the breeding season they supplement their diet with insects. I came close to mowing over this nest hidden in thick grasses until I saw the woven cup and three brown speckled eggs.


Tree Swallow 6/11/18

Tree Swallows, sometimes called White-bellied Swallows, arrive in April from southernmost parts of North America, the Caribbean, and northern Central America while other North American Swallows winter farther south. Males are an iridescent blue-green on their uppersides and white below, while females are browner above with just hints of blue-green iridescence. As females age they become more colorful and iridescent like the males. They’re found near open fields and wetlands and nest in tree cavities but take readily take to nest boxes like this one.  They raise their young on insects caught on the wing, but if caught by a cold snap early in the season, they can supplement their diet with berries.


Great Blue Heron nest 7/20/15





Purple Martin female 7/14/14


Purple Martins are the biggest of the North American swallows and during the breeding season come in 4 different plumages. Adult males are dark all over with a glossy blue sheen both above and below, while subadult males have lighter chests and bellies with random dark blotches. Adult females like the one above are blue black above with some browner areas with a duller sometimes streaked breast and belly, while sub-adult females are even lighter bellied and mostly brownish with little or no blue sheen on their topsides. Adult plumage develops in two year-old martins. However subadults commonly breed after their first year.


Common Tern 6/19/14


Occasionally you’ll see Common Terns by themselves, but more often they forage in a flock and breed in a colony. There are populations that breed on the beaches of both coasts, but they also breed in prairie wetland habitats deep in the continent’s interior. Sexes are alike, but juveniles and subadults will have white foreheads. Told from slimmer Arctic Terns by their heavier bodies and larger bills, told from Forster’s Terns by grayer bellies and red rather than orange bills and feet. Told from Roseate Terns by pale gray, rather than faint pink bellies, and mostly red, rather than mostly black bills.


Cliff Swallows 6/17/14


Cliff Swallows are more widespread than you’d think, found all over North America, they just aren’t very common in numbers, though populations are expanding here in the east. They build their nests of mud pellets under eaves and bridges and on cliffs adjoining open country, but aren’t the swallow that burrows into sandy cliffs (that’s the Bank Swallow). In the West Cliff Swallows are often found in huge colonies, but under these East Margaree eaves is a colony of just two nests. The adult bird on the left appears to have some white in its throat right under the bill which I’ve never seen before, more typically the throat is all chestnut like the adult on the right. Juveniles are much darker, and lack the whitish forehead that distinguishes this species.


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