An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Renovated Bird Nests

Most songbirds only use their nest once. After their young have fledged, the nest is usually abandoned. In the natural world, recycling has been a way of life for a long time, and abandoned bird nests are not about to be wasted. In the spring, the material used in old nests is often re-used by birds building new nests. But long before this occurs, white-footed mice and deer mice, both of which remain active year round, often use old nests as larders where they store food for the winter. Occasionally they even renovate a nest in the fall in order to make a snug, winter home. They do this by constructing a roof (of milkweed fluff in this photograph) over the nest, which serves to insulate it. Use caution if you come upon such a nest– it could well be inhabited! (Thanks to Sara and Warren Demont for the photo op!)

5 responses

  1. Susan in NH

    What a sight! That looks so comfy for winter, I could move right in!

    November 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm

  2. Susan MacKenzie

    I love the resilience that this image reflects. Yay resourceful mice!

    November 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm

  3. What a great use for milkweed fluff! It does look very cozy.

    November 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm

  4. Feldman, Tina

    I love it!!!!

    November 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm

  5. Elizabeth

    Yay for resourceful mice making a home OUTDOORS and not in my utensil drawers, food shelf, insulation . . .

    November 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm

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