Discovering bird nests is one of my favourite spring past times and each year Ian, my step dad, and I seek out as many as we can in the wood. We have a good varitey of species nesting consistently each year, however many have escaped our eyes this year.
Here's a list of all the nests we have found this year followed by a list of bird species we typically find in the wood, but haven't found this year. Carefully sticking a camera close to a dark nest means the quality of the photo's aren't great but they give you an idea of where the nests are and what they look like.
Bird nests we have found this year
Great spotted woodpecker
The woodpeckers nest somewhere in the wood every year and this year we were treated to them nesting super-close to the house. The chicks are VERY noisy and call constantly throughout daylight hours. I shot some footage of their nest in a vlog a few weeks ago. The chicks are due to leave the nest any day now and are sticking their heads out to look at their new world.
Sadly one of the nests that failed this year. One day there were eggs, the nest there were none. Presumably it had been predated, possible by mice.
Wrens wrens; everywhere! A very common bird and I find many of their nests each year. This year one of the nests has been under the roof shingles by the front door at chest height. This means I’ve had a great view of the parent sitting on the nest right up until the chicks fledging.
This is the nest under the shingles by the front door. There's at least 4 chicks in the nest and it looks rather packed in there.
This is a typical wrens nest made from moss and leaves. The opening is missing the little twigs at the bottom that remind me of a wicker basket meaning the nest is probably not finished.
We have several nest boxes around the wood, many of which are occupied by blue tits.
If there haven’t been blue tits in a nest box, they have great tits instead. Look at these ones in the old canary house!
I call to the great tit chicks so they think I am their parents bringing food.
Two of the three owl boxes have stock doves nesting. I recorded some footage of their eggs in this vlog.
This is a still from the video footage I took of the stock dove nest inside one of the owl boxes. Look at those pearly white shells!
Stupid birds (actually clever) nesting low down and getting spooked every time I walk buy them. They are everywhere.
Long tailed tit
One of my favourite nests; a dome made from moss with a small hole and lined with soft feather. The one I found this year later got scratted out of the gause bush by a predator.
We first nest of robins was found in a fern on the ground. They successfully fledged. Look at the video to see the babies. Ian found another nest in his dust extractor for the log splitter. He didn’t realise until after he had moved the extractor to a different location for 2 hours then moved it back, then to realise it had small chicks in it! Thankfully the parents returned.
A short video of the robin chicks in their nest
Oure resident brown owls have nested every year (apart from last year) over the last decade in one of the three owl boxes Ian put up. This year they nested in the left box. I climbed up to sneak a peek at the chicks in this vlog.
A snap of the two gorgeous fluffy owlets in the nest box.
I have a love/hate relationship with treecreepers. I love them because they are interesting birds that hop up tree trunks yet hate them because they have been keeping me awake since 4am for many years. 2-3 pairs nest under the oak roof shingles each year. We’re so lucky to have these often-secretive bird come so close. They happily land on the shingles just above our heads and make their way under them into their nests.
Ian and Dave spotted a fledgling fop onto the deck then make its way up the side of the house, wide legged like John Wayne.
Dave photographed the tiny treecreeper fledgeling making its way up the side of the house
For the second year they have nested in the eaves of the house. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen eggs or chicks this year so think they may have moved location.
The maggies nested about 20 metres from the house but I think the chicks didn’t fledge. I often saw crows attacking the nest, then one day heard a maggie chick calling in distress and ran over. A chick fell from the nest in front of me. I picked it up to see it had a damaged wing and some blood. Unfortunately, he died the next day. Either a predator attacked him or possible his parents thought he was ill and booted him out.
Each year the thrushes nest in the most inconvenient of places; in machinery in use, vehicles, in wood piles- you name it, they nest there! This year was no different. A pair nested in a wood pile but unfortunately something took the eggs. Surprisingly, it’s the only thrush nest we have found this year. Very strange!
We normally find loads of blackbirds nesting in the wood but this year I’ve only found one empty nest. They will be somewhere though as there are many adults and juveniles around.
Due to the crazy amount of rain at the start of the year, the water table has remained quite high meaning the seasonal pond has stayed full over spring. I’ve watched the moorhens swimming around the pond each day but they suddenly disappeared. After searching for some time I found a moorhen nest but no parent or eggs. Maybe they were put off by the lowering water table. Maybe the fox filled his belly.
Like the moorhens, the ducks were attracted to the pond this spring. I watched a pair of mallards court from my window but spent many walks trying to find their nest. Eventually I found the nest in the middle of the pond on the upturned root of a tree fallen many years ago. She was perfectly camouflaged. It was only a ray of light shining between the trees and directly onto her back that gave her away.
Sadly, I found the remains of Mr duck close by the pond a few days later. Presumably a fox had eaten him.
Each day I checked in on the duck and each day the water level dropped. To my delight, the chicks hatched and I watched mother lead them away into the undergrowth. I haven’t seen them since and hope they are safe.
Can you spot Mrs duck and her newly-hatched ducklings among the swampy remains of the seasonal pond?
Hated by many, but loved by me. At least one pair of crows nest somewhere in the wood each year.
Bird nests we have found in previous years
We’ve seen a couple of pairs around all spring but failed to find their nest. Unfortunately, I found one the females dead on the deck a few weeks ago. Presumably she flew into the window. Rather upsetting.
Last year a pair nested just outside the office window.
Last year we watched the marsh tits raise their young in the natural hole of a log placed in the garden on the ground.
Last year we found the buzzards nesting in the other bit of the wood. They are noisy beasts and spend many hour circling above the wood and they often swood through the trees.We think they are nesting in another woodland a couple of fields away thus year.
Last year they nested about 70 metres from the house. I loved watching the young flitting tree to tree when they left the nest. Magnus the magpie didn’t approve of the juveniles sitting in the trees above his aviary
Normally one of the first nests we find but haven’t seen any this year. There are several chaffinches around though
They’ve nested in the single conifer in front of the house this year but haven’t seen them since early spring. Presumably they have moved to a different area to nest.
No sign of their nests this year.
In all, it hasn't been the best year interms of the veriety of spefcies or the number of nests disocovered. This could be down to the cold and wet start to spring which has impacted farming and plant growth in general.
PS. Do you have nests where you live?