I am sure that Jemimah and I are not the only ones to be fascinated by the variety to be found in birds' nests. Each bird has a different home, and the unique aspects to each type of structure are amazing: The Pied Oystercatcher, along with other shore birds, simply lays her clutch of eggs in a little depression in the sand of the seashore; parrots and cockies nest in hollow trees along the river banks; the Mallee Fowl buries her eggs in a huge mounds that can be over 1m high and 4m across; and the bowerbird...well their bowers need to be seen to be believed, while their nests are actually pretty boring.
While the variety of nests in our backyard is not quite so impressive as this, we still have a number of resident birds in our Peaceful Garden, and while finding bird nests during the summer requires patience,determination, skill and a good dollop of good luck, during winter it is a doddle. With the trees bare of leaves, nest hunting is merely a matter of looking up!
Of course a nest in spring complete with a clutch of chicks is the most interesting, but you can learn a lot from the nests you discover in winter. We always look at the position of the nest on its branch, as well as its method of attachment. How does it stay there? We also look at its manner of construction, as well as the materials that the birds have found to construct their home. Are they all natural, or are some man-made? Can we identify the species that made it? (Not often!)
We always do a drawing or two, and note our findings in our nature notebooks. It is terrific fun.