A colleague of mine sent me these beautiful pictures of a white-faced hornet (aka bald-faced hornet) nest. These wasps are a relative of yellow jackets and not true hornets.
Tag Archive: nest
The challenges of motherhood are many.
It requires a ton of patience.
You have to carry a lot of extra weight.
You have absolutely NO privacy.
And let’s face it; your young won’t stop until they’ve sucked you dry.
And the worst part is, one day you have your brood all together…
But then you look up and they’ve all gone their separate directions!
But wherever they go, they’re following in your footsteps.
And they’ll always look up to you.
And need you and love you.
Thanks, mom, for handling all of these challenges LIKE A BOSS!!! Happy Mother’s Day!!!
This flamingo chick is standing on a mud mound nest that is around 12 inches high, so that it won’t flood, and near shallow pools of water, offering it some protection from predators. Its parents have a pretty unique trait among birds; they can produce a type of “milk,” a trait they share in common with pigeons. This lucky chick will feed off that milk while its in the nest.
I almost missed these little guys with their stellar camouflage, perfect for hiding out on rocky cliffs.
Cliff swallows’ nests are found on cliffs, buildings and bridges and are comprised of tiny mud pellets. These birds will often nest in huge colonies, so parents can detect their own chicks by their vocalizations alone. In fact, scientists have recorded chicks voices and played them back to see if the right set of parents would come, and sure enough, the parents came to their chicks’ calls. Given this, you might think that barn swallows are really good parents, but I’m not so sure. After all, it is a lot of work and cliff swallows are known to lay their eggs in another swallow’s nest or to lay an egg in their nest and then carry it in their beak to another bird’s nest. Ha! On the other hand, I have read accounts where one parent dies and the other diligently continues to work for two and raise the brood on their own. Impressive.
Peahens are one of the solo parents in the bird world, not getting any help from the peacocks. These chicks are able to walk, forage for food and follow mom immediately after hatching. In the science world, young that are fairly independent from birth or hatching are called precocial animals. And here’s a close up of one of the chicks:
Boobies really do get the short end of the stick when compared to other seabirds. Even their common name shows a complete lack of respect for the bird. The name booby comes from the Spanish word bobo, which means clown or stupid fellow. There are a couple guesses as to why they were called this. Possibly because these animals were not easily scared off by humans and so were easy to catch by sailors looking for dinner. Another thought is because they have a really funny looking courtship dance, where they walk around lifting their feet up really high and throwing their heads back and clacking beaks. Whatever the case, no respect for the boobies.
Boobies are actually fantastic divers. Peruvian boobies will dive from 15 meters (~50 feet) in the air down into the sea. They dive so deep that they usually pass the fish they are hunting on the way down and instead catch them in their beak on the way back up. Because they dive so deep, they have access to fish that other sea birds can’t reach and so they are frequently the victims of piracy, or having their food stolen from them. In this case, the pirates are other sea birds that can’t dive as deep, such as gulls or pelicans, and are usually juveniles that aren’t very good at foraging yet. And frigate birds are some of the worst pirates as well. The scientific name for the behavior of stealing food from another animal is kleptoparasitism. Isn’t that the best word ever?
Boobies even get trouble from other boobies. Sometimes these birds will chase other boobies around until they regurgitate and then the chaser can steal the meal. Even when they’re chicks they have to worry about other boobies. And not just strangers, but their own kin! Since boobies lay their eggs a few days apart, one chick is usually much larger than the other and in some species, the larger chick will eject its sibling from the nest, essentially killing it. What’s interesting is that blue footed booby parents will prevent their older offspring from killing the younger, while the masked booby does not. Scientists believe it’s parental supervision that is the difference because if you put blue footed booby chicks in a nest with masked booby parents, one chick will kill the other. And if you put masked booby chicks in a blue booby nest, the siblicide is not allowed. For the record, boobies are not the only birds that engage in siblicide.