NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 22, 2013

Make way for ducklings in Newburyport

This is the time of year when most birds in our area are nesting. Finding nests often takes patience. If you sit or stand quietly and watch birds, they will often show you where their nests are. If they return repeatedly to the same spot in a shrub or tree, especially if carrying nesting material or food, you can presume that is the location.

Sometimes you are lucky and someone else tells you about a nest that they found. I thought that I would again share with you the story of one of the more unusual nests that I was told about, and got to see, about 7 years ago. A woman named Barbara stopped in the store and asked me which ducks nest in trees. I immediately thought of the wood duck, until she explained to me that the nest was not in a cavity in the tree (which is where a wood duck nests.) Instead, this duck had built a nest 30 or more feet up on a branch of a tree in her yard.

She had seen the duck pulling at vines around the tree and using the material for a nest. The nest was discovered when work to remove the vines started a few days before and exposed it. Barbara said that she lived off of Moseley Ave here in Newburyport, a good half mile from the river. Needless to say, I was curious, so I offered to stop by after work. When I arrived at the house, Barbara told me that the mother duck had just enough, there was the nest about 35 feet up — an odd place for a duck.

She showed me some shells at the base of the tree and she was afraid that they had fallen out of the nest. Actually, hatching was going on, and the empty shells were being discarded out of the nest.

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