Birds – Nature’s Architect?

   Humans have observed and learned from animals and birds for centuries. Though birds have a tiny brain compared to humans, they do have some sort of “innate instinct” (wiki) that allows these little creatures to build amazing homes. What may be a nest to humans, is a place to lay eggs and raise young ones providing them food, shelter, and security. These nests are often tested by various elements such as rain, wind and human interference. However, many birds outsmart all these elements not only in building materials but also construction style for their homes. Different birds involve in different construction projects that make their homes unique.

   Hummingbirds are considered to be “surveyors, architects, and builders”. They may be “the smallest of all birds” but they have a unique building technique. They build the outside walls of their homes with lichen and moss for structural strength. They also use “spider silk” to sort of weave the nest together for structural integrity. As the young ones in the nest hatch and grow, the nest expands with their growth. These birds have an average lifespan of “three to five years” (wiki) which is quite high for such small birds with a high metabolism. One may only wonder if the perfect nest they build for themselves and their nestlings could actually be a contributing factor to their average lifespan. Among many special characteristics, hummingbirds have an evolved vocal for singing and vocal learning. Their feeders could prove as insect trap as they may also attract bees, wasps, ants and other insects like mosquitoes.

   Arctic terns are “medium-sized” (wiki) birds with an average lifespan of “fifteen to thirty years” (wiki). They travel about ninety thousand kilometers after nesting. They are considered to have the longest migration pattern in the animal or bird kingdom. When male and female agree for a nesting site, the male feeds the female till mating. Then, they build a nest as a sort of camouflaged depression on the ground. This nest may be covered by bits of grass on coastal and island colonies but heavily defended by these small little birds capable of drawing blood from an animal as big as a polar bear. These birds are often on the postage stamps of countries and territories.

    Osprey (also called fish eagle or sea hawk) nest near a body of water. This location gives them “adequate food supply”. Nesting sites are often renovated and reused for as much as seventy years. If there are no nesting sites, they often delay breeding! Sometimes, they even build their nest on top of a post or column type structure. They use building materials such as mud and seaweed to build a nest that is often overlooked by another male for mating and nesting. “Some prefer transmission towers as nesting sites”. These birds often become targets for egg collectors and hunters!

   Ovenbirds are often called “sculptors of mud and clay”. They build a customized version of their nest with wet clay and vegetation. Since their nest is often on an open plain like fence posts on a farm, they are taken over by other birds like saffron finch and “shiny cowbirds” after oven birds leave their nests. To stand out against weather elements, ovenbirds take about a month to complete the construction project that involves a curved wall to seal off the main section of the interior for their eggs as a security measure.

  Australian brush-turkey uses their big feet to kick leaves and form a nest on the ground in places like rain forests. Mounds are built by males and the nest itself is reused year after year. They collect material from all around the place to build a nest”1 to 1.5 meters high (3-4.5 ft) and up to 4 m (13 ft) across”. They then lay up to 50 eggs which hatch as a result of the heat from the composting mound. The nests are temperature regulated at about thirty-five degrees Celsius by adding and removing material. These nests often are a site for picnic and camping for humans who often have their picnic tables raided. They also steal compost and mulch from gardens to build their nests.

   In conclusion, birds are amazing architects who do consider structural strength, integrity, security, and aesthetics while building their nests. And though birds may seem pretty and their nest’s marvels of construction, they are regarded as garden, farm, and even house pests. Certain birds damage plants, crops and even homes with bacteria and fungus that come along with them and their nests. Roofs, attics, and balconies are common bird nest sites. Some people decide to invest in birds and their nests for eggs and research while others invest in aquarium fish for a more secure and reliable source of investment!

One thought on “Birds – Nature’s Architect?”

  1. Pingback: WHO? – Tekksavvy

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