Birds Nest Collections




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The best time to start bird's nest collections is in November or December, after the leaves have fallen.  The nests are then easy to find, and no harm is done by collecting them because the birds have left and will not use them the following year.  Of course the nest that you have watched  through the summer and know the entire history is the most interesting; but you can learn a lot from nests that you discover in winter for the first  time. 

When collecting a nest, it is always best to cut off the branch upon which it rests and to preserve both branch and nest together.  The position of the nest on the branch and its method of attachment are often as interesting and as necessary for its identification as the materials from which the nest is made.  This method likewise provides the best means of preserving the nest, for with a few strands of fine copper wire or strong thread, it can be sewed to the branch so that it will not fall off  when it has dried out.  Wire loops or screw eyes can be fastened to the branch by which it can be hung on the wall or in the cabinet.  If for any reason it is not  feasible to cut off the branch, the nest should be placed  in a cardboard box, so that it will hold its shape and not drop litter. When nests are properly cared for, it is remarkable how many can be ever kept in a small space.

There is a great deal of variation in bird's nests of the same species, particularly in the different states of preservation in which they are found in winter.  The general type of nest built by each species, however, is fairly constant.  The specific materials of which a nest is constructed often vary according to what is most available; and unusual nests are frequently found which defy identification by anyone but a specialist. 

Ninety per cent of the nests found by Scouts in northeastern United States will belong to one of the following nine birds that are common and whose nests are conspicuous when the leaves fall: catbird, chipping sparrow, goldfinch, Baltimore oriole, redstart, robin, song sparrow, red-eyed vireo, and yellow warbler. The nests of birds that build on the ground are not ordinarily found except when they are occupied and can be identified by seeing the birds themselves. 






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On Nature's Trail ] Animal Tracks ] Birds in Winter ] [ Birds Nest Collections ] Nature Collections ] Signs in Jan-March ] Signs: Nov-Dec ] Trees in Winter ] Animals in Winter ] Winter Tree List ] Tree Photography ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.