Hi Everybody!!

Hi Everybody!!
Welcome to my Hometown!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Hi Everybody!!
Last night we learned about the breeding grounds for birds and why they return after winter. The birds have friends on private lands (like me), to create habitat friendly to the birds. They also have public land management that considers and protects bird habitats. My winter birds have gone heading back up North. Although I am in S. Texas, my place is the breeding grounds for the Northern Cardinals. New cardinals have been arriving all week. They are all busy building cup  nests to hold eggs. The males have begun to sing.  Tonight we will take a closer look at nests. Enjoy!


Bird nest

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A bird nest is the spot in which a bird lays and incubates its eggs and raises its young. Although the term popularly refers to a specific structure made by the bird itself—such as the grassy cup nest of the American Robin or Eurasian Blackbird, or the elaborately woven hanging nest of the Montezuma Oropendola or the Village Weaver—that is too restrictive a definition. For some species, a nest is simply a shallow depression made in sand; for others, it is the knot-hole left by a broken branch, a burrow dug into the ground, a chamber drilled into a tree, an enormous rotting pile of vegetation and earth, a shelf made of dried saliva or a mud dome with an entrance tunnel. The smallest bird nests are those of some hummingbirds, tiny cups which can be a mere 2 cm (0.79 in) across and 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) high.[1] At the other extreme, some nest mounds built by theDusky Scrubfowl measure more than 11 m (36 ft) in diameter and stand nearly 5 m (16 ft) tall.[2]
Not all bird species build nests. Some species lay their eggs directly on the ground or rocky ledges, while brood parasites lay theirs in the nests of other birds, letting unwitting "foster parents" do all the work of rearing the young. Although nests are primarily used for breeding, they may also be reused in the non-breeding season for roosting and some species build special dormitory nests or roost nests (or winter-nest) that are used only for roosting.[3] Most birds build a new nest each year, though some refurbish their old nests. The large eyries (or aeries) of some eagles are platform nests that have been used and refurbished for several years.
In most species, the female does most or all of the nest construction, though the male often helps.[4] In some polygynous species, however, the male does most or all of the nest building. The nest may also form a part of the courtship display such as in weaver birds. The ability to choose and maintain good nest sites and build high quality nests may be selected for by females in these species. In some species the young from previous broods may also act as helpers for the adults.

Deep cup nest of the Great Reed-warbler


Like many small birds, the Purple-crowned Fairy uses considerable amount ofspider silk in its cup nest
The cup nest is smoothly hemispherical inside, with a deep depression to house the eggs. Most are made of pliable materials—including grasses—though a small number are made of mud or saliva.[70] Many passerines and a few non-passerines, including somehummingbirds and some swifts, build this type of nest.
Small bird species in more than 20 passerine families, and a few non-passerines—including most hummingbirds, kinglets and crests in the genus Regulus, some tyrant flycatchers and several New World warblers—use considerable amounts of spider silk in the construction of their nests.[71][72] The lightweight material is strong and extremely flexible, allowing the nest to mold to the adult during incubation (reducing heat loss), then to stretch to accommodate the growing nestlings; as it is sticky, it also helps to bind the nest to the branch or leaf to which it is attached.[72]
Many swifts and some hummingbirds[73] use thick, quick-drying saliva to anchor their nests. The Chimney Swift starts by dabbing two globs of saliva onto the wall of a chimney or tree trunk. In flight, it breaks a small twig from a tree and presses it into the saliva, angling the twig downwards so that the central part of the nest is the lowest. It continues adding globs of saliva and twigs until it has made a crescent-shaped cup.[74]

Cup nest of a Common Blackbird
Cup-shaped nest insulation has been found to be related to nest mass,[75][76] nest wall thickness,[76][77][78] nest depth,[75][76] nest weave density/porosity,[75][77][79] surface area,[76] height above ground [75] and elevation above sea level.[79]
More recently, nest insulation has been found to be related to the mass of the incubating parent.[76] This is known as an allometric relationship. Nest walls are constructed with an adequate quantity of nesting material so that the nest will be capable of supporting the contents of the nest. Nest thickness, nest mass and nest dimensions therefore correlate with the mass of the adult bird.[76] The flow-on consequence of this is that nest insulation 

In human culture[edit]

Three long-legged, long-billed black and white birds stand on a huge pile of sticks atop an artificial platform on a pole
A human-made nest platform in Poland built as a conservation measure and to prevent storks disrupting electricity supplies through nesting on pylons. Three youngWhite Storks are on the top of the nest and two Eurasian Tree Sparrows are perching on the side of the nest.
Many birds nest close to human habitations and some have been specially encouraged. Nesting White Storks have been protected and held in reverence in many cultures.[95]Nest boxes are often used to encourage cavity nesting birds. The nesting of Peregrine Falcons on tall buildings has captured popular interest.[96] Colonial breeders produceguano which is a valuable fertilizer. The saliva nest of the Edible-nest Swiftlet is used to make bird's nest soup,[97] long considered a delicacy in China.[98] Collection of the swiftlet nests is big business: in one year, more than 3.5 million nests were exported from Borneo to China,[99] and the industry was estimated at $1 billion US per year (and increasing) in 2008.[97] While the collection is regulated in some areas (at the Gomantong Caves, for example, where nests can be collected only from February to April or July to September), it is not in others, and the swiftlets are declining in areas where the harvest reaches unsustainable levels.[97]

Brooklyn Museum - Bird's Nest - H. Lynde
Some species of birds are also considered nuisances when they nest in the proximity of human habitations. Feral pigeons are often unwelcome and sometimes also considered as a health risk.[100]
The Beijing National Stadium, principal venue of the 2008 Summer Olympics, has been nicknamed "The Bird Nest" because of its architectural design, which its designers likened to a bird's woven nest.[101]
In the Victorian eranaturalists often collected bird's eggs and their nests. The study of bird nests is called caliology.[102]

link to photostudy in G+ Album:


Northern Cardinal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a North American bird in the genusCardinalis; it is also known colloquially as the redbird or common cardinal. It can be found in southern Canada, through the eastern United States from Maine to Texas and south through Mexico. It is found in woodlands, gardens, shrublands, and swamps.
The Northern Cardinal is a mid-sized songbird with a body length of 21 cm (8.3 in). It has a distinctive crest on the head and a mask on the face which is black in the male and gray in the female. The male is a vibrant red, while the female is a dull red-brown shade. The Northern Cardinal is mainly granivorous, but also feeds on insects and fruit. The male behaves territorially, marking out his territory with song. During courtship, the male feeds seed to the female beak-to-beak. A clutch of three to four eggs is laid, and two to four clutches are produced each year. It was once prized as a pet, but its sale as a cage bird is now banned in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
Northern Cardinal
Male in Ohio, USA
Female in Florida, USA
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Species:C. cardinalis
Binomial name
Cardinalis cardinalis
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Range of C. cardinalis


Newly hatched

At one week old

Female feeding a chick
Pairs mate for life, and they stay together year-round. Mated pairs sometimes sing together before nesting. During courtship they may also participate in a bonding behavior where the male collects food and brings it to the female, feeding her beak-to-beak.[15] If the mating is successful, this mate-feeding may continue throughout the period of incubation.
Males sometimes bring nest material to the female cardinal, who does most of the building. She crushes twigs with her beak until they are pliable, then turns in the nest to bend the twigs around her body and push them into a cup shape with her feet. The cup has four layers: coarse twigs (and sometimes bits of trash) covered in a leafy mat, then lined with grapevine bark and finally grasses, stems, rootlets, and pine needles. The nest typically takes 3 to 9 days to build; the finished product is 5.1–7.6 cm (2.0–3.0 in) tall, 10.1 cm (4.0 in) across, with an inner diameter of about 7.6 cm (3.0 in). Cardinals do not usually use their nests more than once. The female builds a cup nest in a well-concealed spot in dense shrub or a low tree 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) off the ground. The nest is made of thin twigs, bark strips, and grasses, lined with grasses or other plant fibers.[19] Eggs are laid one to six days following the completion of the nest. The eggs are white, with a tint of green, blue or brown, and are marked with lavender, gray, or brown blotches which are thicker around the larger end.[11] The shell is smooth and slightly glossy.[19] Three or four eggs are laid in each clutch. Eggs measure approximately 26 mm × 19 mm (1.02 in × 0.75 in) in size.[11] The female generally incubates the eggs, though, rarely, the male will incubate for brief periods of time. Incubation takes 12 to 13 days.[19] Young fledge 10 to 11 days after hatching. Two to three, and even four, broods are raised each year.[19]The male cares for and feeds each brood as the female incubates the next clutch of eggs.[17]
The oldest wild Cardinal banded by researchers lived at least 15 years and 9 months, although 28.5 years was achieved by a captive bird. Annual survival rates for adult Northern Cardinals have been estimated at 60 to 65%;[20] however, as with other passerine birds, the high mortality of juveniles means that the average lifespan is only about a year.

Relationship with humans[edit]

Fledgling at a box feeder
The Northern Cardinal is found in residential areas throughout its range. Backyard birdersattract it using feeders containing seeds, particularly sunflower seeds and safflowerseeds. Although some controversy surrounds bird feeding (see bird feeder for details), an increase in backyard feeding by humans has generally been beneficial to this species. It is listed as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. It has an estimated global range of 5,800,000 km2 (2,200,000 sq mi) and a global population estimated to be about 100,000,000 individuals.[1] Populations appear to remain stable and it has not reached the threshold of inclusion as a threatened species, which requires a decline of more than 30% in ten years or three generations.[1] It was once prized as a pet due to its bright color and distinctive song.[9] In theUnited States, this species receives special legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which also banned their sale as cage birds.[21] It is also protected by the Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Canada.[22] It is illegal to take, kill, or possess Northern Cardinals, and violation of the law is punishable by a fine of up to US $15,000 and imprisonment of up to six months.[23]


The Northern Cardinal is a territorial song bird. The male sings in a loud, clear whistle from the top of a tree or another high location to defend his territory. He will chase off other males entering his territory. He may mistake his image on various reflective surfaces as an invading male, and will fight his reflection relentlessly. The Northern Cardinal learns its songs, and as a result the songs vary regionally. It is able to easily distinguish the sex of another singing Northern Cardinal by its song alone.[13] Mated pairs often travel together.[14]

Male often feeds the female as part of their courtship behavior
Both sexes sing clear, whistled song patterns, which are repeated several times, then varied. Some common phrases are described as cheeeer-a-dote, cheeer-a-dote-dote-dote,purdy, purdy, purdy...whoit, whoit, whoit, whoitwhat-cheer, what-cheer... wheet, wheet, wheet, wheet[15] and cheer, cheer, cheer, what, what, what, what[16] The Northern Cardinal has a distinctive alarm call, a short metallic 'chip' sound. This call often is given when predators approach the nest, in order to give warning to the female and nestlings.[4] In some cases it will also utter a series of chipping notes. The frequency and volume of these notes increases as the threat becomes greater.[4] This chipping noise is also used by a Cardinal pair to locate each other, especially during dusk hours when visibility wanes.

...this is brendasue signing off from Rainbow Creek.  See You next time!