March 30th   Leave a comment

There is a fair bit of nest building going on. Over the weekend I watched a pair of blue tits going in and out of the nest box in my Mother’s garden. Today I watched a carrion crow carefully collecting wool. Some carrion crows are sitting already. But this pair today were carefully collecting newly shed wool and then carding it between their feet and bill. The result a clean, fluffy bundle of wool which they then took off to make the inner lining of their nest. You can imagine just how cosy the eggs will be when the females starts laying in a few days. Early nesters need warm nests, and insulation with moss, or grass or best of all fur makes a huge difference to the energy needed to keep the eggs at body temperature when a bird is sitting, and the cooling rate when the bird leaves the nest to feed. Another favourite for nest lining is feathers of course. The most famous being eider-down. So good we harvest it for our own insulation. I saw a stonechat a little later on my morning circuit with a feather in its bill. It was reluctant to leave the area where I was, another sure sign (if the feather wasn’t enough) that there was a nest nearby. The male added a further clue by chacking in the particular strident way that they have when you are close to their nest.

Carrion crow collecting sheep’s wool this morning at the airfield
Carrion crow
Female stonechat nest-building at Sauchope
And the male nest guarding

Posted March 30, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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