May 03 2011

Quiz: Whose nest?

Published by at 8:30 am under Quiz


Here’s a nest that was under construction in Marcy’s cherry tree more than a week ago.  By now it has eggs.

Can you tell whose nest this is?  Here are some hints:

  • The female selects the site and builds the nest.
  • She uses grasses, weed stalks, and strips of cloth or string.
  • The materials are held together with wet, soft mud that she carries to the nest to cement it.  Mud is essential.
  • Working from the inside of the cup, the female molds the nest to the contours of her body.
  • As a finishing touch, she lines the inside with soft grasses.
  • She does not maintain the nest so it deteriorates with use and might even blow out of the tree.
  • It takes 5 to 7 days for her to construct the first nest of the season, a little less time for subsequent nests.
  • The female builds a new nest — or builds on top of the old nest — for subsequent broods. 

Whose nest is this?  Leave a comment with your answer.

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Quiz: Whose nest?”

  1. Yvonneon 03 May 2011 at 8:40 am

    Robin?

  2. Jennieon 03 May 2011 at 8:42 am

    It looks like the robin’s nest in a winged euonymus outside my bedroom window, so that’s my guess. :-)

  3. Lisaon 03 May 2011 at 10:49 am

    A robin?

  4. Kate St. Johnon 03 May 2011 at 10:53 am

    Yes, a robin’s nest.

  5. Marcy Con 03 May 2011 at 4:00 pm

    It was only 1/2 built when I took the photo….it’s in an ornamental cherry tree…now there are eggs, but it’s just high enough I can’t see how many…hope she stays dry in all this rain…she’s a good mama staying on the nest…

  6. Bill Parkeron 03 May 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Is there a bird who nests over more of North America than the American Robin?

  7. Kate St. Johnon 03 May 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Good question, Bill. My hunch is that the robin wins on the widespread-habitat-and-abundance scales. Just a hunch, though. Other abundant birds, like starlings, don’t nest in the forest (robins do) or they don’t nest in Alaska (robins do). Hmmmm.

  8. Sageon 03 May 2011 at 5:31 pm

    The nest building description matches that of the American Robin on my balcony~

  9. Monikaon 03 May 2011 at 11:40 pm

    A few weeks ago I spotted a female robin busy at work building her nest. I’ve been nest-watching it since. I’ve posted some photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7576877@N05/sets/72157626643152612/ if anyone’s interested. :)

  10. Ellieon 04 May 2011 at 8:40 am

    Thanks Marcy and Monika for sharing and how cool we all had the right answer! Hints from Kate were a big help also.

  11. Kate St. Johnon 04 May 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Lisa, I lost your comment about “the clue that did it.” ! It was accidentally marked as a spam comment. Yikes! Sometimes computers think too much. I think this has happened to one or two comments from others in the past. :(

  12. Barbara H.on 04 May 2011 at 5:37 pm

    We had a successful robin nest in the top of our California Fan Palm last summer. We didn’t even know she was up there as she built it, but she did a great job and 3 young robins fledged, sliding down the fronds into the bushes in the garden. We didn’t know they nested in palms, but there ya’ go . . . So far no sign of a nest this year.

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