Friday, May 9, 2008

Bird Nest experiment results for May 2 to 9, 2008

If you haven’t been following my backyard bird nest experiment from the beginning you can read my first post about it here.

As I had hoped, it has been a busier week in nesting land. Things are picking up and more nest helper cages are getting inspected and picked at.

The robin nesting in the juniper tree outside of our dining room window has laid her eggs so she’s there full time now keeping them warm. I have not been able to see how many eggs there are because the nest is too high up for me to get a look without dragging the ladder out there. I don’t want to disturb her just for the sake of getting a picture for you, so we’ll find out how many eggs there are when the wee ones hatch. When she does get out to stretch her legs she has been helping to control the ant population on our crabapple tree for which we are eternally grateful. Here’s a shot of her in action.

The goldfinches were regularly visiting the string and sisal nest helper until it met with an early demise on May 5th. No remains have been found but we do have two suspects in the case.

At first I automatically blamed the tractor in the picture on the left, but I’m finding that the roll bar of the tractor on the right is also looking mighty suspicious. It’s just so heartbreaking that it’s gone and that I’ll never see it again and that I don’t know if it suffered a lot or if it’s death was swift and merciful…I guess I’ll never know :o( *sniff*

In the meantime this replacement string and sisal nest helper has been sent out into battle and hopefully it will fare better than the first one.

So here’s where we stand on the nesting materials that are starting to be taken:
- bull rush fluff
- cotton fabric
- dog fur (light)
- dog fur (dark)
- dried grass
- feathers
- raffia
- shredded paper
- straw
- string & sisal
And these nesting materials have had lookers, but so far no takers that I’ve spotted:
- corn husk
- dried moss
- dryer lint
- excelsior
- wool

The chickadees really do seem to have a preference for the white dog fur as opposed to the dark grey. As you can see I will have to be refilling the white dog fur soon because it is almost all gone already.

So that’s my news for this week. I hope you are enjoying following along with my experiment. I have been having a blast and my indoor cat has been glued to the “cat TV”.

Have a great week! See you next time :o)

Kathleen (aka TheNatureNut)


Distressing Delilah said...

oh my goodness..what a great idea! That was a very interesting post..I think I have to collect some dog fur now!

Anonymous said...

What a great experiment and a great product.

on a personal note, i have really long hair which when it naturally malts can be quite a substantial ball! and have ever since i was a teenager always, when able, taken those hairs outside and released them into the wind hoping that birds will find and use them in a nest.

Sandra Baraci said...

The nest helpers are awesome idea I should try it in the spring as well... i wonder how aussie birds would take on to them.

Rosebud Collection said...

What a fun blog..I enjoy birds so much and watching what you are doing with the nest building is great..
Good job..

BlossomingTree said...

You have a very nice blog. I enjoy reading it. And I love your photos.

tattytiara said...

Oh man do I wish I could send you the extra dog hair that's in such plentiful supply here year round!

AuntDsHandcrafts said...

This experiment is so awesome! How cool of you to start it. I love birds and bird watching :)

Hey Harriet said...

Wow, the experiment is going so well. I'm really enjoying it! The photos are fab (a pic of your cat glued to the 'cat TV' would have been cute to see also ;)...maybe next post... :)

woolies said...

we found a nest on the ground yesterday....broken eggs, nothing left. We have a lot of wildlife here - would great horned owls attack a nest? Or hawks? Anyway, the nest was lined with the softest fluff, not sure what it was, but the outer nest was twigs, and the inner was all super soft. So whoever made that nest was one smart bird. Why do I always have the sad stories to tell? Ah, wildlife..

Beat Black said...

thats one of the most creative ideas iv ever heard of. my parents are huge bird fans, i'll have to send them to your shop. in the mean time i'll be checking in to see how everythings going with this experiment

nootlebot said...

this is such a sweet experiment! :)

Natasha said...

What a suprise your blog is. The pictures are lovely too. Thank you for sharing this.

Bejeweled said...

I just had to stop back by and see how the experiment was going :)

How interesting the lists are of what they've taken vs. just looked at. You'd think wool would be a sure thing since they love the dog hair.

LOL on the "cat TV"!

Anonymous said...

With the wool, it's probably the smell more than anything that keeps the birds away...I don't know. I wish I had a way to get some soft, fuzzy white dog hair...where do you get yours? :0)

I enjoy reading your experiments with these nest helpers. I have raffia in mine, hasn't been touched here in the South. I also have feathers, no takers. They took the yarn, though...and the moss, it hasn't been taken. I am thinking of taking my nest helper apart and filling it with different stuff.

The Nature Nut said...

In previous years every single piece of wool disappeared, so I know it will start being taken soon. It's just that the birds who like to use it probably haven't started nesting yet.

Jenn since we don't have our wonderful little sheltie anymore (*sniff) I ask for dog fur donations. I have a friend with a Flanders cattle dog who gives me her brushings and I also went out to a local dog grooming shop and asked them for a bag of dog fur. They thought I was crazy, but they were only too happy to give me some! (And I got a great selection of colours that way too.)

Maybe it would be a good idea to take your nest helper apart and try some different nesting materials. I'm sorry to hear that raffia, feathers and moss weren't big hits in your yard.

littlebird said...

i love your bird nest helpers, they are ingenious and so sweet and helpful of you. And i'm laughing at the thought of you asking for a bag of dog hair from a grooming parlor : D
Your photos are lovely and i so enjoy viewing the little visitors to your garden.

Nicole Solo said...

thats such a sweet way to do it! I always leave my rabbits' brushings out for the birds to nest with but never thought of gathering in such a cool way :)

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! We don't use the cages but we always brush the cats in the backyard and let the fur just blow around for birds to collect. We'll have to try a cage next nesting season.

Anonymous said...

HOW COOL!!! I have many birds that nest around here. I always have the feed for them and have left things out for them to build their nests. I'm going to have to give this a try. Does anyone have ideas on how to keep the maga-pies, starlings and crows out of the nests??

Denny said...

Hey Kathleen, Nice information about the birds, really liked reading this.

No updates in 2009?