Many Different Types of Bird Nests Pop Up Each Spring Across the United States
Spring is nesting season, but not all nests are the same. Bird nests can be as diverse as the different birds that create them, varying in shape, size, color, building materials, and location.
Bald eagles have some of the largest nests of all, weighing up to half a ton. Bald eagle nests can reach over four feet wide and three feet deep. Eagles adding to their nest each year may eventually create one 10 feet across! They like nesting in tall trees near coastlines, estuaries, large lakes, rivers, or reservoirs with an ample supply of fish and other prey to feed their eaglets.
Hummingbirds are the tiniest of all nesting birds. Their eggs can be as small as jelly beans. Hummingbirds build their nests using lichens and spiderwebs.
While many birds nest in trees, some nest on the ground – in grasslands, wetlands, or along shorelines. Piping plovers and killdeer are two examples. These small, skittish birds create an inconspicuous nest called a “scrape” by literally scraping a depression in the ground and laying their eggs there. Adults of both species will feign a broken wing to lure predators away from their nests, only to fly away to safety at the last minute.
Learn more about nesting birds across the United States and how to spot them. Explore birding tips for your next visit on public lands (or right outside your home). Discover how birding and wildlife-viewing generates nearly $80 billion in the U.S. economy.