Underneath a pine, probably dislodged by the fierce rain of the day before, summer’s nest. Quite small, about 3.25″ across, but certainly not the smallest I’ve ever seen. That would be the absurdly tiny, lichen-camouflaged nest of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. This is very elegantly made of grasses. Perhaps Chipping Sparrow? A little small for the average Chipping nest’s diameter, according to Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds’ Nests, but otherwise suggestive. No horse, human, or other animal hair lining it, however.

(Our MetroCards are 5.5 x8.5 cm.)


A quick reminder that possession of birds, feathers, eggs, and nests are all prohibited by a law celebrating its centenary, and which the Trumphooligans are undermining to profit their oligarchs and rabid kill-it-all supporters.

Speaking of nasty nest-eggs, we now have three generations of Trump family tax fraud and corruption.

2 Responses to “Nest”

  1. 1 Frank Devine October 3, 2018 at 7:11 am

    I have a question that has been bothering me for a while. We all know that the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly is amazing, the result stunning. Yet, I can’t for the life of me understand “why”. Just what is the evolutionary advantage. It seems like a long, arduous, energy consuming process, just to gain mobility and attractiveness for mating. Can you help clear this up for me?

    • 2 mthew October 3, 2018 at 8:22 am

      Maybe… This is a fascinating question. There are so many different ways of living on this planet; evolution has thrown out many possibilities, most haven’t lasted; some have taken quite well.

      Caterpillars are eating machines and some imagos (adults) don’t eat, so there’s the separation of packing in of food in one stage and reproduction in another. But this isn’t universal: some butterflies and moths eat, too.

      Even within insects, there are a lot of ways of doing things. Plenty of them (Hemiptera, Odonata, etc.) only undergo partial or incomplete metamorphosis (no pupal stage).

      “Strategies” might be a traditional way of describing this, but strategy suggests intentionality, and the ad hoc contingent nature of evolution’s randomness suggests to me that “strategies” isn’t a good description.

      This looks pretty good for more detail:

      This is from above link: “The earliest insects in Earth’s history did not metamorphose; they hatched from eggs, essentially as miniature adults. Between 280 million and 300 million years ago, however, some insects began to mature a little differently—they hatched in forms that neither looked nor behaved like their adult versions. This shift proved remarkably beneficial: young and old insects were no longer competing for the same resources.”

      Consider how Monarch caterpillars can absolutely denude milkweed, leaving nothing for the adult form. The butterfly however, can take nectar from many other flowers.

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