One thing I really like about late fall and early winter is seeing what went on in the tree canopies all summer, secretly – behind the leaves. When the leaves come down, suddenly, you can see all the nests. I like to walk around my neighborhood and look at what the birds left behind.
This Baltimore oriole nest
is built every summer in more or less the same spot in my neighbor’s tree. The hanging oriole nests never cease to amaze me. They are true miracles of construction, and they are built in a matter of days!
We live next to a salt marsh, so many of the nests consist of marsh grasses and are built in lower, shrubby vegetation. But they are so beautifully concealed, there’s no way you would ever guess they were there in the summer.
Then there’s the one huge nest that’s always out in the open. This osprey nest has all sorts of material, in addition to sticks. The nest faces a large fishing port, so the ospreys collect rope, plastic – whatever they can get their talons and beaks on.
But most of the nests around here are well-hidden. So, before the wind takes them down, and before the birds return to build something new behind the leafy curtain, at least a few of their secrets are revealed.