An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Red-eyed Vireo Nest

10-31-13 red-eyed vireo nest  033 Abandoned bird nests are evident now that leaves have fallen off the trees. Consider the time and effort that goes into the construction of one of these single-use nurseries. Take the Red-eyed Vireo’s nest you see here lying on the forest floor. The female selects a nesting site — a time-consuming task, as the requirements are that it conceal the nest and provide shade for her young. (Too much sun will cause her to abandon the nest. One female who had selected a sunny spot was observed pulling nearby green foliage over her nest and fastening it in place with spider webs.) The female vireo then collects nesting material for the three layers of her nest: Exterior – tree bark, spider-egg cases, wasp-nest paper, lichen, green leaves and pine needles. (Nests exposed to sunlight may be decorated with light-colored tree bark such as birch bark.) Interior – bark strips and plant fibers. Inner lining – grasses, pine needles, plant fibers and animal hair. She then weaves these materials into a cup-shaped nest that is suspended from a forked branch by its rim. A trip for materials is made every 3 – 11 minutes and roughly twenty seconds is spent working each load into the nest structure. This intensive work takes the female vireo approximately five days – all accomplished without the aid of any hands or tools, and she only uses the result of all this work once. Fortunately, recyclers make good use of her efforts.

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7 responses

  1. Connie Snyder

    …”all accomplished without the aid of any hands or tools…” and no one to teach her!

    October 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm

  2. Libby

    Hi Mary, Should you mention that, technically, it’s illegal to collect even abandoned nests? I don’t know if anyone would ever be in trouble for that, but recyclers might want to at least know…..correct me if I’m wrong!!!

    October 31, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    • Yes, you’re absolutely right, Libby. You need a federal permit to collect nests (or most feathers!). I should have mentioned this!

      October 31, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    • Good to know!

      November 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm

  3. Juanita Longwell

    Mary I enjoy your site so much, many times I would love to forward it to a friend. Could you incorporate a forward button?

    May 26, 2017 at 9:49 am

    • What a nice request. I’m afraid WordPress, which controls the business end of my blog, does not offer such an option. Such a good idea, though. I’m so sorry. I guess the only option is having them sign up to receive it every day, though that may not be desirable!

      May 26, 2017 at 10:21 am

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