Bird Nests and Nesting Schemes

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Burrow Nests

Some North American birds that use burrows as nests are: puffins, shearwaters, kingfishers, and Burrowing Owls.  Here are three specific examples:

Burrowing Owls nest in abandoned Prairie dogs burrows or those of other burrowing mammals.  They use their extra large legs and feet to modify the burrows to their liking.  They often line their burrows with cattle or horse droppings and can use the same nests year after year if undisturbed.

They usually lay between 7 and 9 eggs which both parents incubate for about 28 days.  When distressed, the young can mimic the rattling sound of a rattlesnake to ward off intruders.

  Juvenile Burrowing Owls, by Kent Keller     ŠKent R. Keller

Belted Kingfishers dig a horizontal or slightly upward-sloped burrows in the bank of a stream, river lake or even sand pits and railroad cuts.  The burrows are 3 to 4 inches in diameter and usually 3 to 7 feet long, although they can be much longer.  Using their bills and feet, It can take them from 3 days to several week to dig the burrow   which ends in a chamber which is about 6 by 10 inches.

They usually lay 6 or 7 white eggs which they incubate for 23 or 24 days.  After hatching, the young stay in the nest for at least 23 days.

  Female Belted Kingfisher, by John Crawley     ŠJohn Crawley
Tufted Puffins dig a burrow on the crests of hills on islands or in sandy cliffs above a beach.  They also nest in colonies on sandy slopes with other member of the Auk Family.  They lay one egg which is incubated by both parents.
  Tufted Puffins, by James McIntyre    ŠJames McIntyre

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