Feathering their nests everywhere


Have you ever found a hummingbird’s nest? More precisely, a hummingbird’s nest perched atop a clothespin? An Anna hummingbird found the perfect abode on a California clothesline.

It’s an incorrect assumption that birds nest only in trees and hedgerows and similar places. In reality, if it doesn’t move — or seldom does — it’s a possible site for a nest. Like flower baskets, old boots and abandoned teacups. Or basketball hoops, mailboxes and tractor engines.

Once again, those studious ornithologists at Cornell University want to know about the unusual place where you have found a bird nesting.

Funky Nests in Funky Places is part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s year-round citizen science project, Celebrate Urban Birds, educating urban- and suburbanites about their neighborhood birds.

Last year’s Funky Nests challenge brought in more than 600 entries of birds’ nests in unusual spots.

“We’ve had such fun with this challenge,” says project leader Karen Purcell. “You wouldn’t believe how many people showed us bird nests in barbecue grills, bathrooms, garden tools and signs. We even had tree swallows nesting in a cannon!”

To join the 2010 Funky Nests in Funky Places challenge, find a bird’s nest lodged someplace where you’d least expect it. Being careful not to disturb it or its occupants, take a picture or shoot some video, draw it or write a story about it.

Email entries to [email protected] before July 1, 2010.

Prizes include Kaytee bird feeders and seed, CDs, books, Cornell Lab gift baskets, nest boxes and more. The first 50 entrants get a copy of the Doves and Pigeons poster by Julie Zickefoose; selected images and videos will be posted on the Celebrate Urban Birds website. And the best entries will become a Nest of the Month in a 2011 calendar.

For more information and entry rules: www.birds.cornell.edu/celebration.