We all need somewhere to live, something to eat, somewhere to raise the kids.
Birds go the extra step when it comes to raising young – they build their own homes, gathering materials to build a nest.
Nests can take many forms. The most common in my garden are the nests of blackbirds and thrushes – solid structures made of twigs and grasses, the classic ‘large cup’ needed for 3-4 large growing young.
Two other bird species I also enjoy in my garden are the grey warbler/riroriro and fantail/piwakawaka. The nests of these two have a lot in common – their fine materials, spiderweb binding and the way they are woven onto a branch. But whereas the fantail makes an open cup, the riroriro shapes an enclosed nest, often hanging suspended like a water drop.
There is the mud cup of the welcome swallow perhaps cemented under a bridge; the kereru’s spartan platform of twigs that you can see daylight through; the tui’s more refined bundle of twigs boasting a grass lining.
However, the New Zealand dotterel or tuturiwhatu is one bird that gives the impression it can’t be much bothered with nest building. Yet, perhaps it is a wise move – what better way to camouflage a nest on a sandy beach than to make a sand nest?
Likewise, the little blue penguin will use a natural cavity or rock pile if one is available but will also excavate a burrow when necessary.
Other birds I’d like to see more of are the morepork and kaka. Both nest in a cavity, usually in the type of old trees that are becoming increasingly rare in the Coast’s urban settings. Maybe nest boxes would be the answer here?
Of course, nests need to be built somewhere and for most of our native bush-birds this is a tree or shrub.
So, alongside Forest and Bird’s pest free project we also need to think of the habitat available to birds all over the Coast.
Come along to the Forest and Bird planting days at Karaka Cove on July 9 and 17 at 9.30am and plant a home for a bird.