Saturday, May 25, 2013

Made in the USA

Since I had described what I was seeing as the Wood Thrush built her nest and since I found it after a predator had gotten it, I thought maybe you would be interested in taking a closer look at it's construction. Two things leap right out at me right from the start. How skillfully and carefully it was made given the knowledge God invested in this creature for living in her little corner of the world. And, secondly, how she could construct such a remarkably intricate nursery using only her beak and breast.

This is the underneath surface of the nest which was placed first. As I said in another entry, early construction was done rapidly with seemingly little thought to careful placement and it shows in this view. One thing to consider, however, is that the bird is fighting the wind and the faster the nest can be built up, the heavier, and therefore the harder, it is to blow away.

Notice how the leaf stems are all facing outward. I would see her forming the cup of the nest with her breast, pause, fuss with a leaf, and press some more. She was constantly evaluating her progress. Two pieces of cellophane are also visible, one on either side of the bottom of the nest.

I think I was most amazed with how nicely formed and how deep the inner cup of the nest was. From watching her build the nest, I had no idea it was going to be that deep. She would press with her breast, then turn in another direction and repeat over and over again, especially toward the end.

If you remember, I said I kept waiting for her to bring in some mud, but never saw her do that. Instead, towards the end of construction, she was bringing in some fuzzy looking stuff I couldn't identify. That is what the lighter material is where the arrow is pointing in this image. I don't know how she got it to consolidate into a solid wall of material.

In this image, you can readily see the rootlets that she brought in as the final step in building her nest. I'm not sure why they choose this material. While it is soft when first dug up, once it dries out, it is rather stiff and scratchy.

I wanted to include two photos to give you a better idea of what I had said in an earlier post. The tree the Wood Thrush was nesting in is marked by the arrow although the branch it's nest was on is above this photo. Between the porch and woods there is a open space marked by the rectangle that serves as a flyway for the birds, mostly coming and going from the bird feeder in the back. So, you can see the odds were high that a lot of birds knew about the nest and maybe that is why so many different species were "invading" her space.

The arrow in this final image points to the location on the branch where the nest was located. I don't foresee her returning to build another nest in the same spot. I have heard them singing in the woods close by, but haven't seen either one since the nest was knocked out of the tree. The blue sky gives the impression there isn't much woods back there, but that isn't true. To the right is a swath of trees a couple hundred feet wide that leads to an even deeper and wider stretch of woods. That is why I was so surprised when she first began building 
her nest since she could have easily chosen a better site.

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