Where do birds build their nests: weird bird nests

Collared dove nesting behind a satellite dish
Birds choose some strange places to nest - like this collared dove (Photo: Simon Stirrup/Alamy Stock Photo)

The worst of the winter is nearly over and before long birds will be starting to build the nests where they’ll lay their eggs and raise their chicks. When do birds nest? Well, some birds, such as long-tailed tits, start building as early as February. There are other early nesters too.

Where do birds build their nests?

Most will stick to the tried and tested nesting sites – trees, bushes, and holes in roofs, walls and tree trunks – but it seems some birds are determined to be a bit different! Here are few of our favourite weird nesting sites:

  • A thrush and her chicks set up home in the amber light of a set of traffic lights on a busy street in Leeds city centre. Maybe she thought she was basking in lovely warm sunshine!
  • A collared dove was hoping to avoid detection – so right on top of a security camera was obviously the perfect place!
  • Some birds are pocket-sized, so is it any wonder that one little bird thought the pocket of a pair of jeans hanging on the washing line was a great place for a nest?
  • A pair of great tits ran the risk of being set alight when they set up home in a bin meant for cigarette ends.
  • Cars seem to be popular with some birds too. Blackbirds have been spotted nesting on top of wheels and one thrush laid her eggs in the engine of an army minibus. They had to wait until the chicks had flown away before moving it, but unfortunately it was hired and costing £30 a day! Of course, the bird family scarpered without paying the rent!

Why do birds nest in strange places?

To a bird, anywhere that feels safe and sheltered can seem like a good place to build a nest. In some areas, it could also be that the natural habitat where they would normally nest no longer exists or is in short supply so they’ve had to look for alternatives.

What should you do if you find a nest in an odd place?

Don’t disturb the nest as this can cause the mother bird to abandon her eggs or chicks. Quite often the bird will realise it’s not in a suitable place and move on. If you find a nest in a public place where other people might disturb it by mistake (such as in the cigarette bin!), you could put up a warning note and tell whoever owns the site too.

Have you found a nest in a strange place? We’d love to hear about it, and see a picture (if you can get one without scaring or disturbing the bird, of course). Share your snaps using #NatureDetectives.

And don’t forget there’s still time to get involved in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch 2107. You’ll have to be quick though as it’s happening this weekend – 28-30 January. You can find out more at rspb.org/birdwatch.

What's the weirdest nest you've seen?

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