Growing up, I always thought that birds nest in trees. When I thought of bird nests I always pictured elaborate nests that took the birds a long time to build. Little did I know that not all birds nest in trees, and not all birds have great nest building skills. My freshman year of college I started working for the BLM at the Blanca Wetlands and McSimpson in Colorado. This is when I learned that many birds actually nest on the ground! This was absolutely mind blowing to me. After learning all of this I became obsessed with bird nests. During many of our surveys, both bird and macro, we come across many nests of many different species, and its absolutely amazing to compare them.
I have come to learn that shorebirds are miserable nest makers. Their nests are nothing impressive and, in fact, they look like the bird just found an impression in the soil and decided it was a neat place to lay her eggs. The interesting thing is that because the nests are on the ground and not well built/hidden, the eggs are extremely well camouflaged. If you do not see the bird actually leave, it is nearly impossible to find the nest because the eggs blend into the environment so well. I found that this is an awesome outreach topic for 4th grade all the way up to 8th grade students, Teaching students that not all birds build extravagant nests in trees and some actually barely build a nest at all which results in camouflaged eggs proved to be very educational and fun for all of the students. I was really surprised to find out that many of the students knew that many birds nest on the ground. The students have so much fun with stuff like this, and I recommend that my fellow EFTA interns try some fun activities with nest building and egg camouflage. I am always here to answer any questions, so feel free to ask away