Avian Architecture Review and Book Giveway!

The cedars of Lebanon get plenty of rain – The Lord’s own trees, which he planted. There the birds build their nests; the storks nest in the fir trees…
(The Good News Bible, Psalm 104)

Many thanks to Princeton University Press for the opportunity to review and give away a copy of this book! More on that at the bottom of this post.

Avian Architecture, How Birds Design, Engineer & Build by Peter Goodfellow

What a wonderful read this has been!

Birds from all over the world are used in this book, but there are plenty of familiar North American birds included as well.

Each chapter begins with a general overview of the nest type, then has a “Blueprint” section that goes into more structural detail on how the various types of those nests are built. Then the chapter covers Materials and Features of the specific nest type, along with a Technique section showing how it’s done, finally culminating in several fascinating species specific Case Studies.

The detail and effort some of these birds put into their nest for only one season completely amazes me.

I loved reading about how some of our more common birds – orioles and meadowlarks for instance, go about constructing their homes. It never ceases to entertain me when I find orioles nests constructed with all sorts of colorful material, “using tens of thousands of stitches and rapid shuttle movements.” Really? They do that? I’ll have to pay closer attention.

Have you ever watched an Oriole build a nest? I haven’t. I highly recommend this interesting, well written book. I think you’ll learn something and enjoy the fine photographs and artwork as well.

Now, after reading this book, I may find myself looking not only for birds, but for their nests.

** September Bird Book Giveaway **
Compliments of Princeton University Press

Answer this question, below in the comments, (making sure I have your contact info):

What was the most interesting nesting behavior you’ve ever seen?

Comments must be posted here on this blog, by Monday October 2, at 6:00 PM Mountain time. If you must sign in as anonymous – I need your name or a way to contact you.

Speaking of which – does anyone know Carol Wong? She was a winner of a previous giveaway and I have no way to contact her.

Winner will be chosen by a random thing picker.

Now, I’ll be heading off to Ouray, Colorado this weekend to celebrate my 15th wedding anniversary with my hot, rockin’, worship leader husband.
Just sayin’.

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5 Responses to Avian Architecture Review and Book Giveway!

  1. Lynda Ackert says:

    The most interesting nesting behavior that I’ve seen probably isn’t all that interesting to well seasoned birders…However, it definitely was to me. We had a pair of barn swallows decide to build their nest on our patio deck just outside of our bedroom. We watched them as they carefully chose their ‘spot’ and then began to build. It took them a couple days to build – one mouth full of mud at a time. During the process, we also noticed them bringing in dainty feathers and laying them just below where they were building their nest. Since they were just outside our bedroom window, we could also hear their ‘chatter’ and it was interesting as well. Once their mud nest was completed, they chose from the feathers that they had dropped below the nest which ones to carefully place within. For the next few days (while the eggs were being laid)their ‘chatter’ changed and we were pleasantly waken each morning with this distinct chatter. The chatter once again changed after the clutch was complete. We watched as the eggs hatched and eventually the chicks fledged. Not too long after the chicks had fledged, we were once again awakened by a very familiar ‘chatter’ – Yes, I told my husband that the ‘chatter’ was the laying chatter…and sure enough, within the next day or two, another clutch was laid. The swallows didn’t come back the next year much to our dismay…but what a fun experience it was!

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is after 6pm MST on the 26th, but since there are no comments, I thought I would share my story just in case. While doing work for the current breeding bird atlas, my husband and I were working a block with special access. I caught sight of a Bushtit flying by. I watched for a several minutes while it flew back and forth over my head. I was finally able to follow it back to this rather large woven nest. I was amazed at the large size of the nest for such a small little bird. I felt honored to get to find this nest and follow that special little bird to his little family!
    Thanks for the opportunity to share this story!!
    Heather Morris

  3. DaveABirding says:

    I’ll add one of my own, although I regrettably was unable to follow the nest through to success or failure.


    Recalls a day last summer that I encountered a Yellow Warbler working on nest building. Such delicate materials and precise placement – it is amazing that any nest gets built, much less survives weather, wind, and a bird sitting on it while keeping eggs warm, safe and dry.

  4. Deb Evers says:

    This funny, but true story is not technically about bird nesting behavior, but it’s somewhat related. Back in Oklahoma, we had an interesting anomaly with our electrical service. Every morning about the same time, our power would go out. We lived in an all-electric home in the country with a water well. When the power was lost, we had NO services–no water, no lights, no heat or air. We couldn’t even flush the toilets!

    Anyway, we would report the power outage and the Rural Electric Co. would send out some technicians who could find nothing wrong. Every evening, about dusk, the power would mysteriously come back on.

    This went on for about a week. Finally, the repairmen came out to our home around sunset and gladly discovered the root of the problem. A Great Horned Owl was nesting in a tree across the road from us. Whenever he came home to roost in his nest, his added weight would drop the branch, nest and all, on the power line. It would short out and we had no power. Whenever the owl would leave his nest to go hunting, the tree branch would raise up and the power would go on.

    That “GREEN” owl was forcing us to save on electricity…whether we wanted to or not!!

  5. Hey Dave, Random Thing Picker chose YOU as the winner! Congratulations.

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