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Potted impatiens can be a lovely nesting place

Mississippi kite
Mississippi kite By Phil Fowler.

Last week I wrote about the intricacies of some bird nests. I am also interested in odd or humorous locations for nests.

There are several species of local birds that will commonly invade our human space to raise their young. Carolina wrens will even enter our homes, garages and storage rooms if a portal is left open, and they can have an entire nest built before anyone realizes it.

I discovered a Carolina wren nest in a potted impatiens plant on my front porch last week, a bulky mass of leaves held together by pine straw. A neat entrance hole was fashioned on one side, and I am awaiting the appearance of some small brown-speckled eggs.

Eastern phoebes and barn swallows will build mud-based nests on ledges at porches or under decks and boat docks.. House finches and mourning doves will often will use potted plants, hanging baskets or door wreaths to house their more flimsy nests. American robins will choose window ledges and other human structures and decorations too. They too use mud to build a very sturdy nest that is coated and lined with grasses. Perhaps you have something different at your place.

By now some of these species are already into a second nesting. I am interested in unusual nest locations that have occurred on your property. Take a photo and send it to me. I’ll collect what I receive and publish them in a blog.

In other news, Mississippi kites appear to have returned to their south Charlotte haunts. A few years ago a pair was discovered nesting at Providence Springs Elementary School. They disappeared, but sporadic sightings continued along Providence Road up to Alexander Road.

A nesting pair was confirmed last year. So far, only one pair has been found in any one year, but evidence mounted that perhaps there was more than one nesting pair in the area. Study the photo accompanying today’s column, field guides and online resources to familiarize yourself with Mississippi kites.

The most likely area would be the Providence Road and Rea Road area but they can turn up anywhere in Mecklenburg County. Let me know if you think you have them. As usual, a photo would be helpful.

Taylor Piephoff is a naturalist with an interest in the birds and wildlife of the southern Piedmont: PiephoffT@aol.com. Check out his blog at piedmontbirding.blogspot.com.