Stumbled across this nest in one of the red oaks we were working on this week…
I was struck by how individual nests are. I found this one especially pleasing, you cannot help but admire its symmetry and the care with which it has been crafted. It would certainly seem very inviting to me if I were a bird. As it is, it might be a wee bit of a squeeze.
I never cease to be surprised by the range of what birds consider to be a nest.
From the beautifully crafted structure, as the one above, to something that looks, frankly, as though the bird that built it was on acid. Or some other substance… just a couple of twigs haphazardly jammed into a crotch and, hey presto, we have a nest. You can just picture father dove putting his wing on his son’s shoulder and saying, with a little tremble in his voice: Son, one day all this will be yours!
Gee whizz, dad, you really didn’t have to go to all that effort!
Having said that, we partially felled an Ash tree the other week that had some serious structural issues and therefore had to be removed as a matter of some urgency, we left the parts that crows were nesting in to be felled once the young had left the nests. Despite the fact that we were really careful as we were lifting the pieces out, they still tickled the nests as they were lifted past them. I was really impressed by the way that the nest withstood the buffeting – stuck way out in the periphery of the tree! And crow’s nests are not the lightest, remember.
And then some nests are just so big.
This reminds me of a job we used to do when I started up in tree care, this must have been in the early 90’s, working with Alan, a friend from Ireland based here in Basel, which involved removing storks’ nests in the Zoo. Storks add on a layer every year and the nests simply get too heavy for the trees – and become a hazard to the visitors, as they might fall down and obliterate some hapless soul.
So after the young had left the nests, we would run up the big extension ladder into the canopy of the tree, I would stand on the base to keep it stable, Alan would go up there, whack a hole in the middle of the nest with a hoe, knock it to pieces and let it fall to the ground. The issue being that storks are quite messy and their nests are filled – to the brim – with a brown-whitish sludge, consisting of droppings, bits of food, bugs – you name it. In fact, during a wet spring the young storks can drown in it. Which is a bit of a spanner in the works, if you are a young stork… what you might call starting off on on the wrong foot.
But what was much worse, was the fact that I would be standing under Alan on the base of the ladder as he unleashed this Tsunami of bird crap onto me. Talk about a rite of passage. I must have been quite a smell…
So there you go, those are my thoughts on birds’ nests.