Bird nests are built in various sizes and shapes, from tiny cup-shaped cradles hanging high from tall branches to burrows dug in the ground.
All of you might be familiar with the nests of sparrows and crows—round, rough and monochrome structures—they do a brilliant job at protecting their young ones, but in terms of appearance, their nests are not very appealing. Fortunately, birds have a wide array of nesting styles, making use of diverse and very odd materials like spider webs, shells, saliva, bits of plastic, dry leaves, and more. Here are some astounding and splendid structures that will take your breath away.
The ovenbird is named after the type of nests they build — resembling cooking pots, covered with lids from primitive times. The red species of ovenbird build the most striking nest—a thick, sturdy, round structure, carefully assembled by both the male and female bird, using clay, and it takes over six weeks to finish the structure.
The Australian Malleefowl builds the biggest nesting mound in the world. To create the mound structure, the male birds dig a hole in the ground and fill it with organic matter like leaves, bark, and sticks. The male birds also churn the compost to ensure speed decay—just as gardeners do. After the compost gets heated, the female bird lays eggs on it, sometimes 18 at a time. They keep the eggs covered in sand.
In Europe, Black Kites have adapted to the lifestyle of humans and are often seen decorating their homes with strips of plastic. While some experts suggest they do this to camouflage their eggs, recent research claims that the plastic is only for show. This theory further suggests that Black Kites perceive plastic as a statement of power.
Montezuma Oropendola from Central America is known for weaving spectacular pendulous nests using banana fibers and vines. The nests look like hanging sacks, suspended from tree branches. Since these birds reside in colonies, you may find up to 150 Montezuma Oropendola nests hanging from a single tree. But you can more commonly see a cluster of 25 to 30 nests. The female bird takes almost 11 days to build her nest, while the male will only observe her work, and if he is unsatisfied with the nest, he will tear it apart, making her start over.
This bird from Australia is no less than a skilled tailor. They use spiderwebs to weave a nest made of leaves. Since the nest lies just 20 inches over the ground, they use camouflage to keep away predators. To build the canopy-like nest, Golden-headed Cisticolas use their needle-like beaks to pierce the leaves and pull a “thread” through it, to sew the leaves and bind them together.
Birds are excellent builders, weavers, and interior designers, sometimes even better than humans.