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Desert Diary

Birds/Bird Nests


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Somewhere along the line, we seem to have gotten the idea that a bird's nest is its home. But, a home is a place where we spend our time when not earning a living; where we take refuge from the worries of the world outside; where we raise our families, hopefully in safety. But only the last fits the function of a bird's nest.

Except for its time in the nest as an egg and the relatively short span of period of growth before taking flight, most birds couldn't care less. There's no retiring to the nest after a hectic day of winning food from an uncaring world or taking refuge from wind, rain, or hail. Nevertheless, nests serve nicely for what evolution has designed them: nurseries attended by dutiful parents. A stable platform, concave to keep eggs and young from tumbling out, and a place where mom and dad can safely settle down to brood their young—that's all a nest is. But, come to think of it, even if not a home, that's not a bad thing! pen and ink


Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.