Because most bluebird books state that trash in nests is the hallmark of a sparrow's nest, my first action as a new bluebirder was to throw out a bluebird nest which contained cellophane and other extras.
Our western bluebirds will routinely add ribbons, cellophane, feathers, thin bark and leaves.
The photo at the right was taken during the 2003 season and has an unusually large quantity of feathers.
|All seven of these eggs hatched in this all-straw nest, only 4 fledged.|
|It seems typical for feathers to be added to the cup just prior to egg-laying. Notice how straw has been threaded through some of the feathers.|
|This is a deep nest with a great quantity of mourning dove feathers, thin leaves and a few ribbons interwoven throughout the nest.|
|Note the coarse structure and varied materials in this nest (leaves, cellophane, a ribbon and many textures of straw and bark).|
|So. Calif. western blues build and decorate to their own styles.|
|This nest is almost without decoration . . . except for the finishing nest cup feathers.|
|Even though the hole-to-floor drop was about 8 inches, this nest cup was built almost on the nestbox floor The nest cup is lined with cellophane.|
|Sometimes one special piece of cellophane is added (instead of feathers) just prior to egg-laying.|
|This party ribbon will be removed after the chicks hatch to prevent tangling (4/01).|
|This nest photo was taken on Susan Bulger's nearby trail on 3/3/01. The nest material is similar to pine needles, but is actually thin twigs from a Jacaranda tree. A single leaf was added to the nestcup as the finish.|
|Sometimes nests accumulate a thick layer of fecal debris before the fledge. The larger the floor space of the box, the thinner the layer and nestlings are able to keep their feathers clean enough to fledge. In small boxes with a full clutch of 5 or 6 western bluebirds, one or two in such a nest will be caught into the muck like a tar pit. Those at the top of the heap in a 4"x4" box will end up standing on their siblings caught in the muck. This is one of the reasons I switched to larger box floors.|
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