Well, heck half the bird clutches out there are already fledged (that's "flown the coop" for you lay readers: Welcome!), but I wanted to celebrate the beautiful, highly functional, creative-material-use-by-birds that is nest building.
The following are just the structure of bird nests to show you the ingenuity of our bird neighbors when nest building. And a surprise treat in the last photo (scroll down to see!).
If you discover a bird nest built near you, consider yourself blessed by Mother Nature: your bird neighbors deemed you trustworthy enough to build a creche nearby; it's a compliment to your passive hospitality! Enjoy the experience!
Quick primer: Bird parents select a location for low human and other traffic; built-in protection from predators; ideally, proximity to food; and prime structural support and access to building materials. In nest building, birds use drier lint, human hair, twigs, spider web, toilet paper, twine and other soft, malleable material waste. Birds build nests in trees, bushes, cactus, flower beds and nooks and crannies of human structures (Bicycle helmet, anyone?).
Birds need privacy when brooding and rearing young as much as you do, so admire these marvels of natural construction from a distance. Leave mom, dad and baby birds in peace.
The photos that follow are from my friend Lorna Leedy, whose life on the road as a National Parks Service family member, takes her to some amazing places. She's spent time in Grand Canyon, Mount Rainier National Park, and now her current location with her hubs and son in Big Bend National Park, Texas. Her Instagram feed is a destination unto itself for natural wonders, all depicted beautifully (she's an artist in her other job).
I'll be sharing more birdcatecture in future posts; there's a lot to cover, not just what birds construct or reuse but what humans make to observe birds in the field. Stay tuned!