Bird Nests and Nesting Schemes

Utah Birds Website

| Introduction | Secluded Place | Scrape | Mound | Burrow | CavityPlate | Platform | Pendant | Sphere | Cup | Host |

Cup-shaped Nests

A lot of passerines and some non-passerines build cup-shaped nests from pliable material like grasses that provide a well-shaped, well insulated nest to facilitate incubation. 


American Robins build their nests in a great variety of, usually sheltered, locations with well supported foundations, like the forks of trees, roof gutters, rail fences, porch gables and the like.  The nest is a deep tidy cup of mud and grasses with finer materials for the lining.

The 3 to 6 (usually 4) pastel blue eggs are incubated almost completely by the female for 12 to14 days.  There are usually two, but sometimes three broods a year.

  Nesting Robins by Terry Saddler   İTerry Sadler

Ted Fitzgerald took a series of picture for a little more than a month, documenting the nesting activities of a pair of American Robins including the phenomenon of the "fecal Sack." This is worth checking out.

  The Fecal Sack Phenomenon, by Ted Fitzgerald   İTed V. Fitzgerald

Black-chinned Hummingbird nests are about 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch high, which, small though they might be, provide enough room for 2 and sometimes 3 chicks.  These nests are made of plant down with an outside coat of spider "silk."

The eggs are incubated by the female for about 16 days and the young leave the nest about 20 days after hatching, but are still fed by the female for a time.  Two and sometimes 3 broods are produced over the summer.

  Black-chinned Hummingbird, by Kendall Brown   İKendall W. Brown

Although Black-chinned Hummingbird nests are usually nestled in forking branches of a tree or bush 4 to 8 feet up, sometimes they are built on a Christmas wreath left on a door or on a hanging ornament on someone's porch, as we see from this photo taken on Christian Peay's porch in Orem, Utah.

  Front Porch Nest, by Christian Peay   İChristian Peay

Barn Swallows create cup-shaped nests from mud or clay pellets with straws and grasses mixed in and usually lined with poultry feathers, horsehair, a process that takes 1 or 2 weeks.  Colonies of swallows (usually less than 30) will sometimes paste there nests on barn walls or other structures, but often they nest as a single pair. 


  Barn Swallow Breakfast, by Ryan Houston    İRyan Houston

Four or 5 eggs are incubated 13 to 17 day and the young fly 18 to 23 days after hatching.

  Growing Barn Swallow, by Ryan Houston    İRyan Houston

Return to the Utah Birds Home Page