It’s time for another look at Nature in Winter, a series of posts based upon the book A Guide to Nature in Winter by Donald and Lillian Stokes that examines topics of interest in the coldest season.  Here’s the previous entries:

Nature in Winter – Snow.

Nature in Winter – Winter Weeds.

Nature in Winter – Tracks in the Snow.

There is a section in the book on bird nests.

Birds’ nests are more obvious in winter than in any other season.  What were leafy forms and dense thickets are now merely a few branches, often revealing the once secret spot where a bird built a nest then raised its young.

It’s not very intuitive to think of nesting birds in winter, but it certainly is far easier to see nests when the trees are without leaves!

nest 020613 3

nest 020613Particularly after it snows, nests can stand out- simply look for the pile of snow on top.  These nests were in thickets perhaps 6 feet off the ground- I’d walked by these thickets in warm weather and never knew they had nests in them.

By the way, the book describes 7 general types of nests- I’m going to guess that the first picture- which seems to be a medium sized nest of mud and grass- is of a Robin’s nest.

0214 -2 (64)

This nest has Sycamore Tree fruit woven into the nest- whatever works!

Good places to look for nests are along the edges of fields and clearings, and among shrubs and low trees.

0214-2 (21)

0214-2 (52)

The above 2 nests were in scrubby fields only a few feet above the ground, and were most likely Sparrow nests.  I was surprised to see an egg in the one nest, though it was cracked and the liquid had leaked out.

0214-2 (79)

I saw a Song Sparrow singing in this young tree in the warm weather, so I bet this nest was his- not that I saw it when leaves covered the sapling…

0214 -2 (51)

This large nest of good-sized twigs and branches was probably a Hawk nest.  They like sturdy taller trees like this Sycamore.

0214 -2 (7)

I found this grass cup nest on the ground- I’m not sure it was placed there or fell from a tree to the ground.  Some birds do nest on the ground, though.

0214-2 (74)

This is a unique nest- it’s basically a globe of woven grass.  I’m guessing this is a Vireo nest.  Oriole nests look similar to this, though they tend to be sock-shaped.  These nests are very sturdy and tend to last long after they’ve been used.

0214 -2 (1)

You may notice large collections of leaves in trees- they aren’t bird nests, they are squirrel dreys, places where squirrels sleep.

0214 -2 (39)

I pay attention to where bird nests are in winter, so I can get a basic idea of where they may be in the leafy warm seasons when they’re hard to see.  From the amount of nests I see in the cold season, there is plenty of nesting going on right under my nose!