The other morning I looked through the bedroom window and noticed this russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) moving:

It was shaking quite a bit, then stopped and a female cardinal hopped into view with a few small branches in her beak. She was building a nest, and snapping the fragrant twigs off to use in it! (I doubt it was the scent of the plant that attracted her, as most birds have a poor sense of smell.)


I grabbed the camera, switched to my telephoto lens, and waited for her to return. I quickly realized that the site for the nest was this bamboo:

I waited for quite a long time, but she never did come back to that sage. So instead of photos of her breaking the twigs free, I got several paparazzi-style images of her collecting other materials:

This is why I'm never too quick to clean up my garden in spring. Yes, I keep my yard a mess for the birds. Yeah, that's the reason.

These nest builders were not stopping to pose -- sometimes I barely had time to focus before they dove into the dense foliage...

...then took off again, searching for suitable building materials:

I now know of four different bird nests in various bamboos in my garden. This always seems to me like a risky place to make a nest -- what happens if a new shoot happens to come up in the wrong spot, and pushes right through the nest?

I suppose that's less of a worry to a momma bird than a guy poking around with a big camera lens.


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Laurrie  – (May 2, 2013 at 7:49 AM)  

Fascinating to watch them go about their business.

The birds in our neighborhood have decided that strands from our window screens are exactly what they need. They are busy pulling our screens apart and doing a good job of making big holes. We chase them away, but they come back or move to another window. It's kind of interesting to watch but very frustrating to see the damage they're doing!

Alan  – (May 2, 2013 at 9:29 AM)  

Laurrie: That's frustrating! I assume they're fiberglass screens, not metal? What type of birds are doing this?

Cat  – (May 2, 2013 at 10:28 AM)  

What an enchanting way to spend a few minutes. I agree completely about keeping a garden too tidy. It doesn't make for happy wildlife. When brushing my dog I always leave some of the fluff for the birds to incorporate into their nests.

Barbie  – (May 3, 2013 at 5:00 AM)  

Awe - that is so beautiful!! We need to take a quiet moment to see these special creatures in our garden. I must slow down and look too! Thanks for this!

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