Bird’s Nests in Unique Locations

A bird made a nest at the bottom of this artificial Christmas wreath

Some traditional locations for a bird nest

I’ve always admired the resourcefulness of birds when it comes to building their nests. They flit around searching for nest-building materials just like people who scour yard sales looking for the perfect treasure. Leaves, sticks, grasses, as well as manmade castaways such as plastic bags, string, and bits of fabric are some of the chosen materials. Back in the “old” days, sometimes you’d see strands of tape from an audio cassette hanging out from a woven nest.

Not only do birds have to concern themselves with construction, but site selection is critical. Just as a home buyer looks for location, location, location, so to must a bird decide where to nest. You expect to see bird’s nests in trees, bushes, eaves, and bird houses, but some birds seem overly imaginative. Here are a few of the more unique and interesting locations where I’ve seen a bird’s nest:

  • Several times I’ve noticed birds nesting inside the horizontal pole that suspends a traffic light or road sign over a highway. The birds fly in and out of the pole through a small hole that was probably pre-drilled for mounting purposes but never used. It can’t be very quiet in there, but it must detract predators.
  • During a storm a few years ago, the plastic end cap blew off our portable basketball net. This created an opening at the top of the vertical pole. A tufted titmouse family decided to build a nest inside. We never knew their secret spot until the babies got hungry and the chirping began in earnest. We were forced to curtail our hoops playing for a few weeks.
  • One spring, a robin nested inside a potted plant hanging from our awning. Unfortunately, the bird family was disturbed every time we went in or out of the front door. The location of the nest did give us a great view of the eggs and babies though.
  • More scholarly birds prefer the comfort of the alphabet as a nest site. I’ve seen nests tucked away inside the open crooks of three dimensional letters that are part of an outdoor sign, like the inside of the letter “O” in the word “STORE” mounted to the front of a building.
  • Last week, I saw an active bird’s nest at the bottom of an artificial, oversized Christmas wreath that had never been taken down from the side of an apartment building after the holiday season. The birds wove their nest right into the plastic branches.

There seems to be an endless variety of places birds build their nests. I’d love to hear about the unique locations where you’ve spotted a bird’s nest. Please leave a reply below.

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8 responses to “Bird’s Nests in Unique Locations

  1. Interesting post. This past Feburary we got to few some Eagle nests. These nests are about half the size of a VW beetle and they like to locate them in Pine trees according to the park naturalist. Thought that sounded a little off given that pine trees can be more brittle than say oak trees. But apparently they like good size pine trees about 3/4 the way up the tree and around major forks off the trunk. Supposedly, they like the pine trees, because it’s easier to enter / exit the nest without interference from dense foliage.

  2. We had a robin weaving a nest on the tire of our active vehicle – put a quick stop to that one. Another tried to build on top of our light fixture right outside the front door — uh uh, nope. Then there were three poles leaning against the house right outside the back door, making a tripod – perfect thought Mr. and Mrs and building began. When they flitted off for more supplies my husband disbanded it and removed the poles. When Mr. and Mrs. returned it was quite comical as they stopped short, and cocked their heads – it was right here, Honey! Where’d it go?

  3. Great post. I love it. You’re right — birds are so resourceful. The other day, I saw what looked like a dropped pile of kapok by the side of the road. The crows were going nuts, carrying off bits of this soft padding for their nests. I hope it was a safe nest liner. One thing I read about recently, is that people should check any pipes that aren’t capped or that are standing upright on their property. Birds will often look for nesting sites in tubular structures, and then have trouble getting out of slippery materials like PVC.

  4. In NYC last week, a sparrow built a nest in a traffic light. But the DOT felt it was a safety issue and the nest was gone the next day. Where’s PETA when you nee them?? 🙂
    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/04/06/sparrow-builds-nest-in-upper-east-side-traffic-light/

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