Monday, February 1, 2010

Let's Look at Bird Nests

By Helen Petre

Winter is the perfect time to walk the trails and look for bird nests. During the year, when the green leaves cover the trees, the nests are hidden, but in winter, we can find all kinds. Hagerman National wildlife Refuge has 11,320 acres of food and nesting habitat, so there is plenty of space for birds to choose a perfect home site. Nesting songbirds prefer the upland habitat along the trails away from Lake Texoma on the Hagerman Refuge.

On Saturday, February 13, at Second Saturday for Youth at Hagerman, youngsters aged 6 - 12 will be learning how to make gourd birdhouses, and in March "All About Nests" will be the youth program focus. In addition, "Bluebirds" are the topic for the Second Saturday general program on March 13. Make the most of your trail time to learn about how birds build their homes and then come to the programs to learn more.

Most birds build a nest of sticks or rough materials and line the cup, or inside where the eggs will be, with softer material. You can figure out which species of bird built the nest by noticing the materials and the shape of the nest. There are samples of bird’s nests at the Refuge Visitor Center, so you can go in and look at them and then see if you can find matching ones along the trails. There is often considerable variation in a nest of a particular species, but in next week’s post I will give a few clues for some common birds on the refuge.

For more information about activities and programs at Hagerman, please visit, and for Refuge information, see

Photos: Great Horned Owl recycling a hawk's nest, by Eileen Sullivan, and Kildeer Nest with Eggs, by Dick Malnory

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