Help Birds Nest by Providing Proper Building Materials | Local News

A bird’s primary consideration when choosing a nesting site is safety. Protection from predators and proximity to food and water are vitally important to the success of a bird’s offspring.

Abundant, easily obtainable food sources allow more time to be spent on better nest site selection and building better quality nests, as well as more time and energy to be vigilant in defending the territory nesting against intruders and predators. Studies show that birds with access to the extra nutrition provided by feeders will lay their clutch of eggs earlier and on average take one more chick per clutch than their counterparts without access to feeders.

The bushtit’s hanging nest resembles an oriole’s nest and is woven from a variety of materials, including mosses, lichens, leaves, and spider webs.

A male house wren can claim a nest cavity by filling it with over 400 small twigs. If the female likes what she sees, then she will take over adding the nest cup and lining it with grass, inner bark, hair and feathers.

The American robin will use mud in its nest to give it strength. You can put a small pot of mud and nesting materials (short string, yarn, and dry grass) and watch the robins come and collect materials to make their nests. Unlike most birds, robins do not lay their eggs at sunrise. They lay their eggs several hours later in the middle of the morning. Since earthworms are easier to find in the early morning, they feed first thing in the morning and then return to their nest to lay their eggs.

Mourning doves’ nests are sticks woven by the female with materials collected by the male. Mourning Doves can have up to six clutches per year, with a typical clutch size of two eggs. This is the highest number of nesting cycles of any North American bird.

Hummingbirds use spider webs as glue to attach the nest to a tree branch, as well as a binder for building materials. The nest is about the size of a golf ball, about 11/2 inches in diameter.

Goldfinches are one of the last songbirds to breed, waiting to nest until mid to late summer when thistle seeds and down are readily available.

The red-breasted nuthatch will line the entrance to its nest cavity with drops of sticky coniferous resin. It is believed that this may be a tactic to discourage predators or nest competitors from entering.

This month, families of birds are forming and are also part of your family world. The next generation of youngsters are making their first appearances all over your backyard.

Be ready to welcome your new birds with the food, water and habitat they need to have a bright future.

Ken Bunkowski and his son, Matt, are co-owners of Wild Birds Unlimited in Santa Fe and look forward to sharing the joy birds bring into their lives.