Monday, November 02, 2009

Artfully Nested

Alas, the leaves in our woodland have fallen for the most part. A few stalwart oaks in the gorge have retained their russet foliage, but our early November footfalls were muffled this weekend by the soothing presence of deep rustling drifts of fallen leaves in red, burgundy, lemony yellow and bronze. The sound the fallen leaves made as we pottered along through them was wonderful.

Yesterday, I wandered about looking up into the bare trees for nests, and here is the first one of the season, an exquisite vireo construction woven out of birch bark, small twigs, spider silk, the fibers of abandoned cocoons and strands of grass. This was probably the nest of a Red-eyed Vireo, a species known to use a lot of birch bark in building its nests and to favor younger trees for its creations. There were a number of these delicate birds residing in the Two Hundred Acre Wood this year, and their cheery whistling songs were delightful to hear. (One of my winter projects for this year is to learn more about the voices of the summer birds in our woods, so that I can identify them without seeing them.)

The nest was high in a small birch tree, and it was dancing about in the wind with great gusto. My photo does not begin to do the nest justice, but clicking on the image takes you to a larger image - one which gives a better idea of how elegant and complex these structures are. Vireos are splendid architects and truly artful builders, and every single nest I have ever found has been a wonder.

3 comments:

Delphyne said...

That nest is so beautiful! I've never seen one like that. I'm going to see if we have these birds in NJ.

I have an oriole nest that our local tree person saved for me when he trimmed the sweet gum tree a few doors down. I'm always amazed when I look at it - the birds wove tinsel into the nest!

Mel said...

What beautiful nest, woven like a basket. I'm always amazed to see the bird nests revealed when the leaves fall. Thanks for sharing this small wonder.

One Woman's Journey said...

The nest is a work of art.
I can remember many years ago when I lived on this land - I found a huge nest. It was cut down and displayed on a beam in my home at that time. I am looking many years later to see what I can discover in these woods. I love being home!!!