Courtesy Eleifert via WikipediaOrangutans in the jungles of Sumatra have been observed carefully engineering the construction of their nests by selecting thick, sturdy branches for the scaffolding of their tree homes, and thinner, lighter branches for soft filler. The study, which appears in the journal PNAS, was done by researchers from the University of Manchester. The research was led by PhD student Adam van Casteren, who spent a year in the wild studying the creatures. Read about it here and view video of one of the primates at work.
I just downloaded the Raptor Resource 2008 Project Banding Report (how's that for a little light reading?), and I found the following:
"We removed the High Bridge stack nest box after the 2007 nesting season. Xcel Energy was converting from a coal facility to natural gas turbine operation, and planned to raze the stack some time in early 2008. We installed a replacement nest box on the nearby ADM stackhouse, but it appears that the falcons chose to nest under the nearby High Bridge instead."
All spring we watched and waited, and the birds were there all along! I'll get in touch with the folks at Xcel and Raptor Resource and see what we can do about watching the peregrines during the 2009 nesting season.
The Warner Nature Center is offering a Project NestWatch workshop to teach you how to monitor birds nesting in your neighborhood. Become part of an exciting national pilot program to create “citizen scientists.” You'll learn how to collect valuable data on nesting birds in your neighborhood that will be studied by some of the world’s most renowned bird scientists. And you'll learn more about the birds local to your neighborhood, where they nest, how you can make your backyard more bird-friendly, and how to submit your nest observations to a national online database.
Call 651-433-2427 to register or ask questions. (Please register by May 2.)
**NestWatch is a project led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
A wasps nest was traded in at Collector's Corner this week. Recently, I have seen articles on the internet of wasps nests so large that they fill up cars or even mobile homes. Normally these nests do not get much bigger than a basketball and contain a few thousand wasps. The super-sized nests may contain as many as 100,000. One mammoth nest discovered in South Carolina contained roughly a quarter-million workers and as many as 100 queens.
Usually all wasps in a nest die from the cold during winter. Only the queen seeks shelter so as to start a new colony the next year.
You can read more giant wasp nest stories here and here.