Blue Jay Builders - How do birds make nests?

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Timothy enjoyed watching the birds in his backyard, especially on those spring afternoons when the animals were happily enjoying the warmer weather! From his large living room windows, he could see many different types of birds taking turns sipping water at the birdbath. Timothy liked naming them.  There was Morris the mourning dove, Blake the blackbird and Wooten the woodpecker.

One day Timothy noticed a blue jay with a mouth full of sticks. It was flying over the fence to the big oak tree in his friend Jenny’s yard. He and Jenny had enjoyed a picnic lunch under that oak tree last summer. As he was trying to remember whether they’d eaten ham or peanut butter sandwiches for lunch that day, Timothy noticed the blue jay return to his yard.

Zoom! This time the bird flew to the tree near the birdbath and used its beak to break off some twigs. Another blue jay was nearby gathering small sticks from the ground.  They then flew together back to the oak tree in Jenny’s yard. Zip!

“I’ll bet they’re building a nest!” Timothy said to himself. 

Later that day when he was outside, he saw Jenny playing in her backyard.  

“How was your Spring Break trip to the beach?”  she called to him. 
“Fun, fun, fun!”  he answered.  “I collected shells and put some of them in my garden.”

Timothy pointed to a small gardening pot full of seashells. Some were scalloped and others were swirled like the frozen yogurt he loved to eat. As he was pointing to his shell collection, one of the blue jays swooped in like a jet and grabbed a scallop shell with its beak!  The bird then dropped it and pecked at it a few times before picking up a nearby twig and flying back to Jenny’s oak tree.

Jenny said, “It looks like you’re not the only one interested in seashells!”

She invited Timothy to play in her yard so they could get a glimpse of the busy birds. As they looked up at the oak tree from the ground, the branches seemed like a hundred arms reaching out to the clouds in the sky.

They could see the jays’ bright blue feathers  moving in the tree, but it wasn’t until Jenny had the idea to use her binoculars that they zoomed in on the birds’ building action! Through the binoculars they spied a bowl-shaped nest resting in the branches.  It seemed to be made out of twigs, with larger pieces sticking out of the nest’s edges like rays of sun .

“I knew it!” Timothy said.

As they looked closer, they even noticed bits of moss and grass mixed in with the sticks. They could see the blue jays adding new twigs to the nest.

Jenny said, “They’re building it for their babies!”  
“Maybe we can watch the babies hatch when it’s time,” Timothy added.

Soon Jenny’s mom brought them another pair of binoculars. “Now you each have a pair,” she said.
“Do blue jays use seashells to build nests?” Jenny asked.
“I’ve never seen a blue jays' nest made of seashells,” Jenny’s mom answered. “But some birds do use bits of shells when they build, so anything is possible!”
“Maybe the shell was too big!” Jenny added.  

Timothy decided to name the birds.  “I’ll call that one Billy the Builder,” he said, pointing to the jay that had a twig in its beak. “You name the other one,” he said to Jenny.

Just then the other jay swooped down from the nest and glided into Timothy’s yard, stopping on the ground near the fallen scallop shell.

“How about Shelly?” Jenny asked, passing Timothy the binoculars. Yep, it was going to be an interesting spring!

by   (whyzz writer)
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