Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Date of this Version



"Notes," from Nebraska Bird Review (June 1991) 59(2).


Copyright 1991, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


Some Nest Box Observations. The following are some observations on nests of species who use bluebird boxes in the Gering area. Anyone else working on a bluebird project who would like to add their observations in a future NBR is invited to do so.

Bluebirds make a nest that consists primarily of grasses. There are seldom any feathers. Well-used ones are plastered with droppings, although I suppose the droppings could also come if they use the box for roosting in bad weather. As far as I know there is no way to tell the difference between Mountain and Eastern Bluebird nests, and we do have both species here-could even have hybrids, I suppose. Chickadees have the neatest nest that is rather flat but very soft, made of a lot of mosses and animal fur and hair. Again, seldom a feather.

Then there is the House Wren. From what I have read, the male arrives first and fills available holes full of sticks. Then the female arrives and picks the site she wants. She may build the actual nest on top of the sticks, or she may take all of the sticks out and start over again-even using the same sticks. So we find a lot oj houses with what I call 'dummy nests' that are just a bunch of sticks. Sometimes the whole house is full and some of the sticks are surprisingly large-you wonder how the bird can manage to get the stick into the right position to get it into the hole. The actual nests can be quite lovely things made of hair and grasses and many times containing feathers. The feathers aren't usually wren feathers, many I have found appear to be small turkey feathers, but I could be wrong in that. It is always fun to see what is in the houses. Once in a while we find a wren nest built on top 01 a bluebird nest, and we have found a bluebird nest built on top of another bluebird nest.

---Alice Kenitz, HC 50, Box 38-B, Gering, NE 69341