Today whilst doing a survey at work my co-workers and I were lucky enough to stumble upon not one but two bird nests!! I’m not yet sure of the species of the birds that we discovered, but I will do my best to look it up and get back to you. The first nest may be a Robin, just based on the colour of the eggs but I’m not sure if they nest on the ground or if the nest is the appropriate size. Both nests were small and made in depressions in the ground partially filled with vegetation. One had woven grass and the second used pine needles as bedding material. I’ll look into it and get back to you with more details. In the first nest three out of four of the eggs had hatched. They were so small and delicate looking I was afraid to go near them in case I disturb the little creatures but of course my curiosity, love of nature and longing for a photo got the best of me and I had to get closer. I know I’m not alone in having these feelings, if you’re outside and you find some adorable creature you just want to get as close as possible and you know you gotta get a photo! So this little article is two-fold in purpose: first I want to show everyone the amazing little nests we found and secondly I want to share some ideas on how to be respectful while enjoying nature.
So here are the photos I snapped today:
Now lets talk about showing respect for the nature that we get so much enjoyment from. In this instance we were walking along and happened to flush a mother bird off of her nest; yes we took the time to find the nest and yes we stuck around long enough to take a couple of photos. But….. we DID NOT TOUCH the nest or the young inside the nest and we definitely did not hang around the nest for an excessive amount of time. We walked over, took a couple quick photos said our oohs and awes and then quickly left the area (all in less than a minute). These little animals are so small and so helpless they do not yet have the ability to thermo-regulate like you and I. Meaning for every minute we stand at the nest, keeping the mother away, those babies move closer and closer to freezing to death! When a mother bird is flushed from her nest it is a stressful experience, evolution is telling her that you are there either to eat her or to eat her babies. The longer you hover around the nest, keeping the parents away from the young the more likely they are to abandon the nest. This risk of abandonment is something that should be in the back of your mind at all times when close to birds nests.
I again emphasize that we DID NOT TOUCH the nest or the birds, think about how much bigger you are and how much stronger you are then the young birds. What to you feels like the tiniest most gentle pet might to them actually be a life crushing force. Would you want King Kong to walk over to your house and give you a tap on the head? Probably not a pleasant experience.
Take away points from today:
- When around a bird nest always remember that your presence may stress the parents into abandoning that nest and those young
- Young birds without feathers need their mother’s body heat to survive
- Small animals are delicate and touching them even gently may cause them harm. Resist the urge to touch!