Living with nests and nestlings

Canada GooseHave you recently discovered a new tenant on your porch light or BBQ? In your flower pot or shed? Some birds make nests in locations that are not considered ideal, because they create an inconvenience for us or a safety hazard for their young. Different species of birds make nests of different sizes, at different times of the year and with different materials. For instance, American Robins are notorious for building their nests in awkward locations, such as on fences, mail boxes and even on a wreath hung on someone’s door!

Usually, once a bird lays all of its eggs, the young will hatch within roughly 30 days. During this time it is best to avoid the nest area in order to reduce the chances of disturbing the parents, who run the risk of abandoning the nest. The nest should never be moved because there is a high risk that the parents will abandon the young.

Once the baby birds hatch, they will spend about the first 30 days of their lives in the nest. During this period the parents will feed the birds constantly. Baby birds grow very fast, as they intend to leave the nest as soon as possible. Young birds in a nest run a much greater risk of being attacked by a predator.

Young RobinAfter about four weeks the baby birds—now fledglings—will jump out of the nest and stay on the ground for another one to two weeks before they can fly. This is a crucial time for them to learn about their environment and develop their flight muscles. It is therefore important to stay clear of the area so that the parents can continue to feed the birds and the fledglings do not disperse out of fright.

In some cases, parent birds can come across as being aggressive when you approach the nest of babies or fledglings. They may fly in your direction or close to your head but will rarely touch you. This behaviour is nothing to be worried about and is only temporary, lasting two to three weeks. The parents are simply protecting their young. Still, it is best to avoid the area until the babies are gone. If this is not possible, then use an open umbrella while passing the area; this will scare the parents enough to stay away from you.

It is important to understand that removing the nest, eggs or young of migratory birds is illegal in Canada and that the parents are only protecting their young,” says Jo-Annie Gagnon, education coordinator at Le Nichoir. “These young birds are lucky to have such nurturing, protective parents and are more likely to survive in the wild because of it.

If you have any questions about birds’ nests or have found a nest that has fallen, please give Le Nichoir a call 450 458 2809.

Une fois les poussins éclos, ils passeront environ 30 jours au nid. Durant cette période les parents les nourriront constamment. Cela peut paraître long, mais cette période passe en fait très vite. Les poussins grandissent très vite, car il leur faut quitter le nid le plus tôt possible. Les poussins encore au nid courent un plus grand risque d’être attaqués par un prédateur.

Jeune merle d'AmériqueAprès ces quatre semaines environ, les poussins – maintenant des oisillons – sauteront hors du nid et passeront une ou deux autres semaines au sol avant de pouvoir voler. Cette étape d’apprentissage de leur environnement et de développement de leurs muscles de vol est cruciale. Il est donc important de se tenir loin de cet endroit afin que les parents continuent à les nourrir, et que les oisillons ne se dispersent pas, effrayés.

Dans certains cas, si vous approchez du nid où sont les poussins, ou bien des oisillons au sol, les parents peuvent devenir agressifs et voler vers vous ou s’approcher de votre tête, mais ils vous toucheront rarement. Ce comportement temporaire – il dure deux à trois semaines – ne doit pas vous inquiéter. Les parents protègent simplement leurs jeunes. Le mieux est d’éviter cet endroit jusqu’à ce que les oisillons soient partis. Si c’est impossible, ouvrez un parapluie lorsque vous y passez : il effrayera assez les parents pour qu’il se tiennent loin de vous.

« Il faut savoir qu’enlever le nid, les œufs ou les petits d’oiseaux migrateurs est illégal au Canada, et que les parents ne font que protéger leur progéniture » dit Jo-Annie Gagnon, coordinatrice en éducation au Nichoir. « Ces jeunes oiseaux sont chanceux d’avoir de tels parents nourriciers et protecteurs : cela augmente leurs chances de survie dans la nature. »

Si vous avez des questions concernant les nids d’oiseaux, ou si vous avez trouvé un nid tombé au sol, veuillez appeler Le Nichoir au 450 458 2809.