Abandoned Catbird Nest

Abandoned Catbird Nest

I’d been watching with interest as a Catbird pair built this nest in the Oriental Lilac just outside the workshop window. After having assembled a loose bramble of sticks in the palm of a few branches I happened to see when one of them brought a long strip of discarded (not by us) shipping tape, and used it as a building material.

Once the nest was inhabitable I watched and planned how I might video the feeding of hatchlings when they arrived. There was almost always a catbird sitting in the nest, keeping a low profile but watchful eye. I wound up hanging a piece of camouflage cloth on the window so I would not bother her during everyday activities—one of my workbenches stands beneath the window.

After about a week of her constant sitting I noticed the nest was left empty for a day. Then two. Three. And well, forever. I knew there had been eggs so of course I wondered what had happened. Did they hatch? But were abandoned? After more than a week I went and looked into the cup of the nest. It was empty except for a puddle of lilac petals that had dropped from the surrounding blossoms. No evidence of eggs or birds.

My best guess is one of the many gray or red squirrels in the area attacked the nest and removed the eggs. With nothing left in need of attention, the catbirds moved on. I think to build another nest in the same bush, but one deeper into the bush’s twiggy tangle and not easily spotted by predators, or photographers.

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