Tag Archives: nest building

A nice nest

One doesn’t think of chickens as being nest builders per se, but they definitely do nest construction.

Guineas, ground nesters like chickens,  craft quite beautifully careful nests, if extremely minimal ones, out of a few blades of grass.  It’s more of a saucer than a bowl – a slight bank to keep the eggs from rolling out, I suppose.

When I set the Silkies on eggs, I think I form a perfect nest in advance, but no.  They always clean it right up, to the point of leaving bare floor around the form of their nest.

When a chicken is working up to getting broody, she makes a lovely round bowl out of straw with a thick underpadding. In this case, there wasn’t a lot of material in the coop because it has just been cleaned, but some hen gathered up just about every blade of straw in there and pulled it into her nest purposes.

I wish I knew how this goes down.  Foot scratching?  Walking with beakfuls?  Beak raking?

Chickadee tragedy (?)

I snuck over to peek at the chickadee nest, and, the horror!  The dead tree was snapped off right through the nest!

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So much for super secure :(  The chickadee’s nest excavations, that made the wall of the tree 3/16” thin on one side, must have weakened the tree too much.  We’ve had some wet and windy days.

I studied the scene and found no trace of violent death from the tree snapping or predators later.  Not a feather, nor shells, on the ground. The top of the tree was lying next to the base.

One tiny poop and one wet feather in the nest- it seems improbable that she raised her young slyly enough for us not to notice comings and goings and they got out in time, but I can hold out hope.

The nest is almost wholly built out of my hair and fibres I recognize from our Icelandic wool blanket and our fleece sheets.  Incredible.  Basically he felted together a little bowl.  I’m glad they benefited from our intrusion here, then.

IMGP7008Once I saw him on the ground outside the camper door, gathering a few hairs and a tuft of wool that’d been swept outside.  He was really working at it, trying to tug the little tangle loose from where it was stuck on twigs and dirt.  Each yank and he’d emit a little “eep”.  The hairs were good and stuck and it looked frustrating.  “Eep, eep, eep, EEP!”  Something I wouldn’t even see- a few brown hairs on the ground- and that little bird spied it.

By the barn, the robin is very sly while feeding her chicks- HW has often worried that she hasn’t been around, but she clearly has been around, enough to rear up clutch #2 to a full feathered trio.  Clutch #1.  They’ll be out of the nest any day.  I should have taken a picture on the day I discovered the little pink wigglers with bruise blue eye bulges.  There were only two, sharing the nest with the third blue egg,  and I assumed that the remaining egg was a dud.  But no, it must have been the day they were born, and the third had not yet hatched.  They barely fit in the nest now, overflowing it.

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Chickadees

The daily birdsong here is breathtaking.  Constant, loud, varied.  Several kinds of woodpeckers, and other birds I don’t recognize beyond their type-wrens, juncos, finches.  The songbird life is rich.

In particular the chickadees seem to have no concern about having us as neighbours.  There’s one or two always chatting in a tree right over my head, or flitting by, or bouncing on a branch nearby.  One’s around me so often I feel like I’m being followed.  H.W. says they are not following him.  I think chickadees are endlessly adorable with their fast, perky energy.

It turned out we parked the camper right by a chickadee nest in the making- two, but it seemed to choose one over the other after a couple days.  It was hollowing out a dead tree started by a woodpecker.  In the first tree the hole was only deep enough for half the little bird body, so I could see the tail bobbing – what is it doing in there?  Then it would back out, fly to a nearby branch, and pfft, spit out a beakful of sawdust.  Repeat.  It seemed to choose the second tree and give up on the first, though.  This hole is lower to the ground but smaller, and the tree is only about 4” diameter.  We looked in and the cavity is about a foot deep!

Impressive for such a tiny bird, one mouthful at a time.  I haven’t seen him working on the excavation for a couple of days, so I suspect and hope that this means she’s setting on her eggs now.

*I guess he was gone courtin’;  he brought back a nice lady!  We were lucky enough to catch her inspecting the nest, and she must have approved of it, because then they both danced an excited little shimmy dance, and mated!  Proving the shimmy is universal.  So now she will be laying, and then setting.