Field Notes: Nesting

It’s breeding season. Canada geese in Green-Wood and Jamaica Bay have made their nests right next to paths and roads; they are becoming entirely too familiar with the most dangerous biped. In Prospect Park, red tailed hawks, mourning doves and robins are already feeding their hungry babies.
Young robins waiting their next mouthful.
Double-decker. Last year’s nest provides a base for this year’s.

Other robins are still incubating eggs. I walked by a spot the other day that I’ve passed a dozen times in the last month, and only this time noticed that there was a robin’s nest there, at eye-level and well within hand’s reach. One of the birds was there, so I kept my distance. Still other species are only now building their nests: I watched a warbling vireo pair working on their woven cup the other day high in a pin oak. The orioles, recently arrived, should be working on theirs as well. Last year, I watched a female picking at rope tied to a fence for material. Their hanging nests, like all nests, are easier see after the fact, when the leaves have fallen, and look like softballs that have lost their covering.
Now this is curious. It’s roughly the size of an American football and entered from the side. It’s a house sparrow house. Now, most of our house sparrows, superbly adjusted to the city, nest in things like street lamps (both the lamp housing and the cross tubes), and under air-conditioners, and, in brownstone Brooklyn, the cornices, arches, etc., but in the “wild” they build these rather large woven structures.

House sparrows, a Eurasian species, were first successfully introduced to the Americas in 1853 here in Brooklyn, in Green-Wood Cemetery.

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