Some species of birds make some seemingly odd choices for nest sites. I wonder what in the world could influence a nesting pair of birds to make some of the choices they do.
Anyone who decorates with hanging baskets or plants has probably had a house finch, Carolina wren or mourning dove nest in one. To me, that is not as unusual as the fact that in many cases the plant is right by a busy entrance to the house.
I get emails every year about Eastern bluebirds and great-crested flycatchers nesting in mailboxes. And once a nest site is chosen, deterring the birds from building is a competition of wills, often with the bird emerging victorious. Apparently birds do not perceive the constant foot or vehicle traffic as a threat, or at least not as threatening as the alternative of nesting in a more natural setting.
I am always interested in unusual photos or stories of local bird behaviors. I get quite a few correspondences from readers, and over the years I have learned a lot about our local species from the observations that have been recounted to me.
Recently I received a series of photos from Ron Bryant of Stanly County that show what I think may be the most unusual nesting I can recall hearing about.
The photos show a barn swallow nest that I find truly amazing, both for the nest site and that the birds were able to construct a nest in at all. The photo shows a hanging mobile with a wooden ring hanging and swinging freely; hardly a stable foundation. Despite this, a swallow pair built a heavy mud nest on this wood ring. Perhaps the weight of the nest lessens the sideways movement of the ornaments, providing stability.
I know birds build all the time on tree limbs that move with the wind, but barn swallows are one species I thought really needed a firm foundation. The resourcefulness and ingenuity of these tiny creatures in adapting to human influence is just amazing.