Bird Nests and Nesting Schemes

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Sphere-shaped Nests

The sphere-shaped nests of Marsh Wrens provide a good hiding place for new-born wrens in a busy marsh environment.  Black-billed Magpies will built substantial nests often with a canopy which serve them will for nesting and, when abandoned, for other birds as shelter or a base for their nests.

Marsh Wrens build their coconut-shaped nests by binding bulrush or cattail stems together then weaving an outer nest using strips from sedges or cattails that have been soared in water.  Leaving a side hole as an entrance, the female will line the actual nest with softer materials such as grass, shredded plants and feathers, while the male builds other nests as dummies to distract potential predators from the "real" nest.

Three to ten eggs (usually 5 or 6) are incubated by the female for 13 to 16 days.  The young are ready to fly about 11 to 16 days after hatching.

  Marsh Wren nest by Cave Reintoul     İDavid A. Rintoul

The location of Marsh Wren nests -- in a marsh -- provides lots of food from insects immerging in the spring just in time to feed hungry chicks.

  Marsh Wren with a bug, by Kendall Brown     İKendall Brown

Black-billed Magpies build 2 to 4 foot high, bulky nests from coarse sticks held together at the bottom by mud.  They usually have a canopy over the top with entry holes on the sides and a nest cup inside made of rootlets, fine plant material and horse hair.  These nests are usually build on horizontal limbs close to the trunk by the female with material provided by the male -- this is thought to be part of a mating ritual.  These substantial structures, when abandoned, can be use by other bird for shelter or for nesting.

The 7 to 13 eggs are incubated for 16 to 18 days.

  Nest Building, by Mia McPherson     İMia McPherson

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