Nesting for Many Birds is Not “One and Done”


Nesting season is well under way for our backyard birds. Although “one and done” is not true for some of our backyard birds when it comes to nesting. Just as soon as they have one brood off, they start another brood.

American Robins can do 2–3 broods a season; Eastern Bluebirds have 2–3 broods; House Wrens do 2 broods a season and Northern Cardinals do 2–3 broods a season. Oftentimes, each brood can take up to a month from laying the eggs to fledging of the babies. Even our latest nesters, the American Goldfinch, can produce 2 broods a season.

Most songbirds do not reuse the old nest, no matter how clean they’ve kept it. Moving their nest site because predators are less likely to find the nest before the babies fledge.

Think of all the work these birds go through in a single season. Building 2–3 nests, incubating the eggs for days, feeding the hatchlings for days, and then starting over. It’s a high energy consumption period for our backyard birds!

You can make things a bit easier for songbirds that are in the midst of the busy nesting season by providing high-energy no-melt suet dough, live or dried mealworms, and a variety of backyard seeds like Joe’s Mix, golden safflower, and Nyjer® and Chips (a favorite of nesting finches!).

By Guest Contributor MELISSA BLOCK