18 April 2010

I have a question about a bird's nest

I encountered this nest while hiking last October.  The view above shows it as it appeared from the trail - long abandoned, with residual ?feathers/down or perhaps ?thistledown still present on the top.  In terms of size it was about equal to two clenched fists, and was located about five feet above the ground in south-central Wisconsin.

My puzzlement began when I walked to the other side of the nest and saw this:
There is clearly a hole in the side of the nest away from the trail.  I had assumed that the nesting area was on top, but this cavity looks like the true nest (I didn't dissect it to see what was inside).

I'm not a "birder," so perhaps someone out there can enlighten me re the species of bird that constructed this.  It's probably a common nest structure, but I just haven't seen one like this before.  Or is the hole a secondary access created by another critter/bird in an abandoned nest?

(Click pix to enlarge).

10 comments:

  1. Orioles make nests like that.

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  2. The orioles I'm familiar with (Baltimore orioles) tend to make nests that are suspended from tree limbs (like a dangling gourd or scrotum), but perhaps they can embed a nest near a tree trunk. I don't know.

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  3. dangdangdang, I saw this on Planet Earth -- it's done deliberately to draw predators to the wrong side of the nest.

    Or did I dream this...

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  4. Some birds, like cowbirds, lay their eggs exclusively in the nests of other birds. Maybe they thought they were laying their eggs IN the nest when they were actually ON the nest.

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  5. Some birds, like the Cowbird, lay their eggs exclusively in the nests of other birds. Maybe they thought they were IN the nest when they were actually ON the nest.

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  6. I think what your looking at is 2 nests- One an orb weaver type with a hole entry. After it was built some opportunistic nest building birds came along and made a nest atop- perhaps the next year.

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  7. I certainly appreciate the comments and suggestions. I'll try to keep an eye on the tree this summer while walking and see if I can spot any activity there.

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  8. I recently saw a nest like this on a kayaking trip near Cape May, NJ. I looked it up later and I'm pretty sure it was the nest of a marsh wren (Cistothorus palustris). I'd seen some of the wrens while paddling the creeks in the area.

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  9. Could be. This wasn't in a marsh, tho there was a marsh nearby.

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