By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator
The month of June is here, and with it comes the peak of nesting season for many birds in our region. The amazing cycle of bird courtship, mating, nest-building, egg laying, incubation, hatching, brood rearing, and fledging is in full swing right now.
In mid-May, Jim and Amy White discovered a Ruby-throated Hummingbird nest in a Sycamore tree along Burrows Run, in the middle of Coverdale Farm Preserve. The nest is on a branch about 20 feet above the ground and well-disguised amongst the leaves and lichen clusters. I took up the challenge of documenting this nest and I’ll leave it to your imagination as to how I obtained this photograph looking down into the nest!
Our region’s smallest bird, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird not surprisingly has the smallest eggs and the smallest nest. The nest is intricately constructed of plant fibers and smartly camouflaged with lichens. In order to strengthen the nest, the female hummingbird gathers spider silk and weaves it into the walnut-sized nest. She then lays two eggs that weigh half a gram each. It would take 5 hummingbird eggs to equal the weight of a dime!
Stay tuned for a series of stories about nesting birds, as we celebrate the beginning of a new generation of avian life.