Friday, May 17, 2013

Wood Thrush

The Wood Thrush is a rather secretive bird that prefers deep woods with plenty of shade. We occasionally see them on the edge of the woods near our home. You are more likely to see them low in trees or on the ground rather than in the upper story of the forest canopy. There is no visible difference between the sexes, but I know this is a male because I knew where it's mate was.

The reason I could distinguish the male and female is because the female was busy constructing a nest in a river birch on the edge of the lawn. That surprised me since I have always considered them shy birds that would rather avoid human contact as much as possible. The tree is no more than fifteen feet from the porch and the nest is about fifteen feet above ground, an ideal spot for photographing the nesting behavior of this species. That is, if they do not decide to build somewhere else. Some birds are known to build a nest only to abandon it and build somewhere else. She has been building it for three days, so we'll have to wait and see. Notice the nest further back up the tree limb. 

The day before she started building in earnest, I saw her place a leaf in the spot where the nest is being built. I thought she might be getting ready to build a nest there, but she never came back that day. So, I thought that was the end of that. The next day, however, she had already built a substantial structure on the spot by eight or nine in the morning. She collects the leaves from all different areas of the woods, rarely going in the same direction more than once or twice. That may be a way of keeping the nest's location secret.

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