Posted by: atowhee | April 9, 2020

BUSHTIT NEST ARCHITECTURE

Work continued on the Bushtit nest in our garden yesterday.  It may have been the final touches and inspection.  At one point the female was up working on the top, checking out the roof?

Yesterday there was plenty of activity around the nest, more materials added.  Today it has been seemingly untouched.  We may now be in the egg-laying and onto incubation phase with activity will be limited, subtle, hard to detect.

Here is nest I collected on autumn a couple years back, long after their breeding season ended.  I do not know who tore open the top:

Plenty of moss and lichen.  You will see many soft feathers inside (the top part of nest is toward the camera) where eggs would be cushioned.  Feathers are from a variety of larger birds.  People talk of being locavores.  All birds are, of course, except when using feeders.  They are also locabuilders.  Like ore-industrial societies Bushtits build with what’s around.  And ten feet from their nest tree is this maple supplying plenty of material:NEST MATERIAL (2)

In my experience most Bushtit nests–I’ve seen several but less than thirty–hang from a central point while orioles use a hammock design, connected at both ends.  This nest is a purse with two apparent connections to the tree’s twigs:

Mid-afternoon a Bushtit pair was at the suet log.  Likely it is the nesting pair as I only see two in our garden at a time now.  Flock dispersed.  Then the female flew to the bird bath for a drink.  If she is nest-builder and it is egg-laying time she needs a rich diet with plenty of protein and a  bit of calcium if she is going to produce a half dozen little eggs or so.

8 BY 8

It’s a measure, a measure of the number of bird species I counted in our garden by 8AM today.  Warmish morning brings out more birds than a frosty one.
Bushtit pair(of course); Bewick’s Wren; Spotted Towhee pair; starlings; Chestnut-backed Chickadee; siskins; Lesser Goldfinch; Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Juncos arrived late, missing the pre-8 crowd.


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