Saturday, July 23, 2016

A newly discovered nest!

Yesterday I was picking wild blueberries along the edge of our woods.  I noticed that the majority of the ripe ones were the ones in the areas with the most sunlight, which makes sense of course.  I puttered around finding ripe berries and observing woodland plants and insects.  I was about finished, but then I decided I would just check along the slope that runs in front of our house next to the road. I thought there might be some berry plants there that had received a good dose of sun.  Here's a picture of that area of ground.

There were indeed some ripe berries along that stretch, so I began picking.  As I carried along, I noticed a little area that seemed kind of hollowed out.  I thought maybe it was a chipmunk hole, since I've noticed my chipmunks seem to disappear into little holes along the slopes when they're distressed.  You might see the little area I'm talking about just to the left and slightly below centre in this picture.

As I peered down to get a closer look, I realized it wasn't a chipmunk hole, and I realized there was something in it!

Can you see the tiny beaks?

How about now?!  Four little baby birds in a wee nest, but it was my first experience with a ground nest built on a slope like that.

When I made a bit of noise, the beaks immediately began to open!

It took a while for me to discover who owns the nest.  I carried on with my berry picking, watching for an adult bird to appear.  It was a while, but finally a parent appeared.  The nest is a family of dark-eyed juncos.  I wasn't successful in getting a good picture of the parents, but you can see a dark-eyed junco here at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's website.  I had no idea that they built their nests on the ground, so I learned my new thing for the day!  I hope to have a few more pictures before they fledge.

Update:  Managed to snap a vaguely decent picture of a parent junco - they move a lot!


porkpal said...

How cool! It really pays to be a keen observer of one's surroundings.

thecrazysheeplady said...


Michelle said...

I just learned this summer that juncos are ground-nesters, and we've lived here where they are plentiful for 26 years!