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Not Just for the Birds: A Showcase of Nests from Museum Collections

A photo collection of bird nests showcases roadrunners' thorny nurseries, hummingbirds' delicate digs and a wren nest that's wrapped in sheep's wool

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CENTRAL AMERICAN CO-OP:

In a three-member example of symbiosis, Campylorhynchus rufinucha, or rufous-naped wrens, live in acacia trees in Central America that are also home to aggressive ants. The trees provide food for the ants, the ants attack herbivores and would-be predators of the wren chicks, and the wrens protect the ants from other, ant-eating birds.....[ More ]

IN THE STICKS:

Greater roadrunners ( Geococcyx californianus ) are hardy desert birds that nest in cacti and thorny bushes. The nests themselves are made from thorny sticks lined with softer material, such as leaves, grass, snakeskin or flakes of manure.....[ More ]

HOME SWEET HOME:

Nests of the Tangara larvata, golden-hooded tanagers, are simple cups made of leaves and bits of fungus. But the cups are deeply hidden, often in tree cavities or under banana leaves. The bird parents here chose an abandoned honeycomb.....[ More ]

ALL SEWN UP:

The common tailorbird, Orthotomus sutorius, gets its name from its ability to "stitch" leaves together with threads of spider silk, plant fibers or any man-made fibers it can find. These nests, which were collected in Sri Lanka, are made of tea leaves.....[ More ]

CONTINUOUS CAMO:

Spiderwebs and cocoons glue together fine plant fibers in the tiny nests of Anna's hummingbirds ( Calypte anna ). Lichen stuck around the outside provides camouflage. Originally limited to California and Baja California in Mexico, this species has spread over the western U.S., drinking nectar from the flowered gardens and parks.....[ More ]

RAINBOW BRIGHT:

The female Icterus gularis, or Altamira oriole, needs at least three weeks to build her free-hanging nest. Normally she uses long vines or palm fronds, but this one wove in some colorful twine. Altamira orioles live in a wide range of habitats extending from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas south to Nicaragua.....[ More ]

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