Look! Up In That Tree….

As the red-tailed hawk photo from Wednesday showed, I’m fairly good at spotting birds. I’m even fairly good at spotting them while driving, much to the concern of my sister, who was always alarmed when I would suddenly duck my head to peer up and out the windshield instead of looking straight ahead at the road.

Mind you, this was a momentary thing–but I suppose it’s as bad as texting behind the wheel, which I would never dream of doing. I’ve tried to break myself of the habit in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

Squirrels Nests

I still do notice, on a regular basis, nests. And I don’t just notice these because I’m looking for squirrels’ nests to try to figure out what the long term winter weather is going to be (and I must say that so far I’m a little disappointed in my squirrels. It’s been a bit colder than they led me to believe. I hope they haven’t misled me this year!). Those are squirrels nests in the photo above.

Of course it’s not as if I really do anything differently based on these squirrels’ nests weather predictions–other than perhaps gasp in horror and write a blog post about what I think the squirrels are predicting. But it’s fun to notice and observe.

But winter is a fabulous time to notice the variety of birds nests in the trees and the different types of ways birds build their nests.

Squirrels’ nests are all, for the most part, at the intersection of a group of tree branches or the crotch of a tree.

Falling bird's nest

Birds nests, to the extent they remain once the leaves have come off trees and shrubs, might be in all sorts of different places. This one is in a maple. It’s slipping off a bit after the first heavy snow of the season.

Nest in Japanese maple

This nest in a Japanese maple is just fine, however, after the same snowfall.

Magnolia nest

And this nest, in a magnolia, will surely last through the winter, because of the way its secured by the branches.

It always amazes me the way the birds have sort of “mortared” them on, when these nests are near the middle or end of a branch. Quite often they will stay there through most or all of the winter, through numerous snowfalls. That’s some staying power!

So they next time you’re out, on a sunny winter day, in a place with some trees and shrubs, take a look for those remaining birds and squirrels’ nests. You’ll be amazed at what you find!

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