Bushtit Thievery

Bushtits are common residents and visitors on our Littleton, Colorado, farm but their numbers vary widely throughout the year.  This week, a single pair has been twittering about the property and, on this warm, sunny morning, I noticed that they were constructing a nest.

Using a wide variety of soft natural materials (including spider webs), nesting bushtit pairs construct a hanging, sock-like nest; this project may take several weeks or more and is usually placed in a conifer.  Other bushtits may assist with the construction and, once the job is completed, are permitted to sleep in the nest with the parents and their offspring (until the eggs hatch and the young fledge); a second brood and social sleep-in may follow, using the same nest.

Known to use human materials for their nests as well, our current pair has located a source of insulation material, retrieved from a crack in the garage wall.  As I sat reading (sort of) beneath the adjacent crabapple tree, the bushtits made dozens of sorties to and from the nest site in one of our pinyon pines.  Their cleverness was certainly admired and their thievery is forgiven.