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Amazing Bird Nest Facts

Bird nests are some of the most beautiful and intricately made structures on earth! Some are as tiny as a walnut. Some are huge "apartment complexes". Some are used for one season. Some are used for generations. Some are camouflaged so well they look like part of the tree. Some are built in the open with just a couple of sticks.

Here are some cool facts about these amazing homes:

1. Bald eagles will build extremely strong nests and use them year after year, modifying the nest as needed. These nests can weigh over a ton. The bigger the nest, the sturdier it is. The largest bald eagle nest ever found was 20 feet deep and weighed two tons!

2. The nest of a ruby-throated hummingbird is only the size of a thimble. They will camouflage their nests with lichen and use spider silk to attach it to the branch a deciduous or coniferous tree. They often are so well camouflaged they look like a knot on the branch.

3. The edible-nest swiftlet makes its nest purely out of its saliva. Built in layers of hardened saliva, these nests are found in dark sea caves. The nest of an edible-nest swiftlet is used to make bird's nest soup.

4. Sociable weavers build a large nest compound that can house over 100 breeding pairs. The birds all work together to build and maintain the nest. The nest looks like a huge haystack in the tree branches.

5. Nests of gyrfalcons are used year after year by multiple generations. A nesting site was found in Greenland that had been used for 2500 years.

6. The common tailorbird uses silk to stitch together the sides of a leaf and builds its nest inside the frame of the arched leaf. Perfect for camouflage!

7. It takes years for a red-cockaded woodpecker to fully excavate its home in a tree. Sometimes they help each other out in the excavation.

8. The smallest nest in the world is that of a bee hummingbird. Their nest is just over an inch wide and made of feathers, leaves, and spiderwebs.

9. Piping plovers just make a shallow indentation on the beach with a few twigs for their nest. Somehow, even though they are so open, they are hard hard to spot because they are so well camouflaged.

10. Most nesting owls will use existing burrows made by other animals such as prairie dogs, squirrels, skunks, armadillos, and tortoises.



U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology


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