Bushtits Building A Nest

by Larry Jordan on March 21, 2010

Bushtit Female Building Nest photos by Larry Jordan

On a bird outing yesterday with the local Audubon Society, we tallied 60 species on a trip that didn’t take us far from home.  The area surrounding Redding California has a rich diversity of habitats including, mountains, lakes, oak savannah, coniferous forest, riparian, wetlands and plains.  This outing was mostly in oak savannah and on the plains of Millville.

A few of the highlights for me were an American Bittern in flight, the first Cliff Swallows of the year, as well as Rough-winged, Tree and Violet-green Swallows and an immature Golden Eagle!  But the best part of the day was watching a pair of Bushtits building a nest in a live oak tree.

You can see the female Bushtit in the top photo looking like she is entangled in spider webs but she knows what she’s doing.  From the look of this nest, this isn’t her first trip aroung the block.  Here she is adding some material to the top of the nest and shaping it.

Each excursion for building materials brought them back to the entrance of this elaborate, pendulous, gourd-shaped sac of spider webs and plant material, where they took turns placing the material inside the sac.  The female did most of the shaping inside the sac which shook like a bowl full of jelly as she worked.

Here is a shot of the male with a beak full of stuff to add.

Do you remember how to tell the female from the male Bushtit?  I wrote about it in a previous post.  It’s all in the eyes.

Check out the other great bird photos at Bird Photography Weekly!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole March 21, 2010 at 11:04 pm

And there you go – all lucky again 😀
Gorgeous shots!
I’ve never seen Bushtits, let alone see them building a nest!

.-= Nicole´s last blog ..Small sewers, Nabq =-.


Neil March 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm

It is great to be able to watch them build their nest sounds like a great day out.
.-= Neil´s last blog ..Straddie Birds and Boat =-.


Kelly March 22, 2010 at 8:25 pm

How very cool. That’s a mighty nest for such a little bird. A bird we don’t have here, I’d like to see one some day. Good eye finding them in the process of building their nest.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Florida eagles aren’t shy…. =-.


Mick March 22, 2010 at 10:39 pm

That looks like a very large nest for a bird of that size. A most impressive bird list for your day out.
.-= Mick´s last blog ..Little Egret =-.


Wren March 23, 2010 at 3:21 am

It’s amazing to see the nests when they are complete, and even more so to watch one being built. That looks to be a fantastically complex structure.
.-= Wren´s last blog ..a hornets’ nest in spring: my world =-.


Müge March 23, 2010 at 6:02 am

What an impressive nest! Birds are great engineers and architects! I can see the difference between the eyes of female and male Bushtits! And I read your previous post too! Yellow eyes of the females are very beautiful!
.-= Müge´s last blog ..Serçe nüfusu azalıyor mu? – A decrease in the House Sparrow population? =-.


Jill March 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

So cool, Larry! Nest building is such an awesome thing to witness. I really like bushtits too, but they always sound like fledglings and throw me off sometimes, ha! I love the nest photos and the trip sounds like it was a good one!

We drive through Redding fairly often, but never actually stop there, maybe next time we should check some stuff out.
.-= Jill´s last blog ..Magpie Jay =-.


chris March 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Hi Larry,
Wow they were still doing their business while you were taking pictures. Lucky man you are! Well done the post and the set of pictures are superb!
.-= chris´s last blog ..Where to start/Par où commencer…. =-.


Lana March 24, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Awesome! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
.-= Lana´s last blog ..Yard Birds =-.


Amber Coakley March 30, 2010 at 6:55 am

What an amazing effort these Bushtits have accomplished! It looks like they are making their own nest cavity. Genius!
.-= Amber Coakley´s last blog ..Herps are Here! =-.


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