Thursday, March 6, 2008

Former Pasture and Mystery Nest

It's chilly (upper 30s at 10:00 a.m.) and foggy but promises to be a sunny and almost warm (50s) day. I will post this before I get lured outside.

The New York Times has an interesting article today about a new book Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy:

The field pictured at the top of the article looks just like our former pasture where I had taken pictures of goldenrod last summer ("A goldenrod community"). Cows weren't on this pasture since 1996. The pasture had grown up with mostly Virginia pines. In the summer of 2006, my neighbor brush hogged the old pasture and piled the small pines to the side. In the winter, I've seen dark-eyed junco birds taking shelter in the dead pines. During the summer, the former pasture is filled with native wildflowers--goldenrods, milkweeds, rose pinks, asters, and grasses. Just like Tallamy discusses, these native wildflowers attract a variety of insects which in turn will attract birds.

On another note, I have a collection of found objects on my kitchen windowsill (how many other nature bloggers do that?) One of my favorites is this nest:

I found it last summer below a large Eastern White Pine tree that grows in our big pasture (the only one left that has cows on it). It appeared to have just fallen from the tree. Does anyone know what bird might have made this nest?


  1. My guess goes to Chipping Sparrows.

  2. Owlman--I have observed chipping sparrows in that field so that sounds good. I had looked in my field guide but my nest's outside diameter was smaller but the inside diameter is the same. So, maybe the sparrow hadn't finished it before it fell.

  3. It looks so delicate and perfect. I can't identify the bird.

    I have a native planting guide for North Carolina. Since the drought, we all need to make different choices for planting this year. It will even benefit the birds :o) I'm looking forward to helping out that way. Little by little.

    Good post! Enjoy the warmth.

  4. I can't help with the nest ID, but could identify with the collections naturalists adorn their windowsills with.
    Mine contain pebbles, pine
    cones, acorns, (bird nests--shhhhh), lichen-covered sticks,...anything that I investigate and find special.

    My husband, who used to wonder about it--now makes sure he wears a jacket with large pockets when we go somewhere--never know what she'll want to pick up!

  5. I would have a hard time arguing that this wasn't a chipping sparrow! I think these guys are sending you along the right path!

  6. Nina--I've got similar stuff on my windowsill, plus some feathers, turtle shells, seed pods, feathers, etc. I also have butterflies (I didn't kill them) I've glued onto glass objects. No designer would think it's beautiful but I like it. Guess we naturalists think alike.

  7. Mon@rch--Yeah, chipping sparrow seems like the best bet. After owlman suggested it, I measured the inside diameter and it matches what the guidebook said. Before, I was thrown off by the small size but apparently the nest was not finished before it fell out of the tree. Thanks for the note.

  8. Mary--good for you to plant native plants for the birds. Hope your neighbors follow suit.