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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Nooks for Nesting

Air Date: Week of

Baby American robins await their parents in the nest. (Photo: © Mike Hamilton)

A single garden can provide havens for a medley of bird species, because they choose different strata of shelter from tall trees to low bushes to raise their nestlings. Mary McCann heads to the backyard in today’s BirdNote®.



CURWOOD: We head from the vast Pacific Ocean – to our North American back yards now. If we’re lucky and plan our plantings carefully. Mary McCann says we can observe a wealth of tuneful companions raising their nestlings. Here’s today BirdNote.

Anna’s Hummingbird returns to its nest. (Photo: © Gregg Thompson)

Nesting Niches
MCCANN: An American Robin belts out its spring song from the top of a tree. [American Robin song] Perched on the roof of a garden shed, a House Finch joins in with its refrain. [House Finch song] Next, a Song Sparrow hops out of a low thicket and adds its music to the medley.

[Song Sparrow song]

You can find these three species nesting within one small garden, making their nests in a tree, a large shrub, or directly on the ground. By selecting different nesting strata, the species avoid competing for the same nesting sites.

[Medley of the three songs]

An American Robin nests with its young. (Photo: © Tom Grey)

Ground-nesting birds include sparrows, juncos, quails, ducks, and some warblers. These birds are particularly vulnerable to predators and human disturbance while on their nests.

The adult birds will stay on or near the nest while incubating eggs. But once the young depart, the parents leave, too. Birds won’t occupy their nests until the next breeding season.

If you plant your garden in multiple layers—trees both short and tall, shrubs, and ground-hugging thickets—you may be rewarded with a multi-layered medley of bird song.

[More medley of the three songs]

I’m Mary McCann.

Written by Frances Wood
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of the House Finch and Song Sparrow recorded by G.A. Keller. American Robin song recorded by W.L. Hershberger.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2005-2018 Tune In to Nature.org May 2018 Narrator: Mary McCann


CURWOOD: For some photos – hop on over to our website, loe dot org.



This story on the BirdNote® website


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