|A well preserved nest of a Red-eyed Vireo. This nest is attached to its branch by the rim|
|Song Sparrow nest hidden in a Hemlock & protected by a tree fence|
|A very well preserved (if short necked) Baltimore Oriole nest|
|Ruins of a Catbird nest, capped and now inhabited by a mouse|
Many nests of the Gray Catbird become visible in winter but by then they are usually just barely recognizable; they certainly don’t hold up as well as the Oriole nests. As they are subjected to the elements, they begin to resemble a heap of twigs, haphazardly piled into a bush. But the relatively large size and composition of the nest ruins, together with its low height, tell us who the likely builder was.
|A Catbird nest filled to the brim with mouse provisions|
I’ve found many instances of bird nests being reused by Field Mice –sometimes as a winter home and sometimes as a storehouse for berries and seeds. A lid made from leaves and cottony plant fibers secured to the top of an old nest is a sure sign that a mouse has taken possession of it.
A surprisingly large portion of our bluebird boxes become
filled with mouse nests over the winter. This month as I begin cleaning the
boxes before the upcoming breeding season, I will have to carefully probe dozens
of mouse nests in order to determine if they are still active. I never evict an
active mouse nest; instead, I wait until they are finished raising their
families and then remove the nest and ready it for the birds.
|A Field Mouse is the winter tenant of this Bluebird Box|