We have a couple of brand new birds’ eggs in what may be a second nest by the robin pair. Now that made me wonder about whether or not the first nest under our deck was a decoy or dummy nest. You probably won’t believe me, but I thought of that before I googled it.
What got me wondering was the nest the robins build under our deck about a week ago and which they seemingly abandoned. See the progress in the video:
My last picture of the first robins’ nest showed that it was empty.
There was only one egg that ever turned up in this nest.
And then we found the new robins’ nest in our front yard crab apple tree.
I wondered if the nest under our backyard deck was a dummy or decoy nest, maybe to discourage a persistent birdwatcher. I checked the web and found a short article on Sialis, “Dummy and Abandoned Nests.” Since Google identified the site as “Not secure,” I can just summarize that the author (who is not identified), reports that some males build nests to provide the female with a number of choices. She picks one and finishes the nest–much more neatly.
Some birds build decoy nests because they might have been scared by a possible predator in the area–like a large black crow in our area, which actually did make off with an entire clutch of House Finch nestlings only a week ago.
I found another web site that essentially gave the same explanation and both mentioned somebody named Benjamin E. Leese, who wrote about this topic in something called BlueBird Journal, Summer 2018, p.14 and 15. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the article, possibly because it’s a print journal and not available on line.
Another thing I wonder about: if the crab apple nest is the real McCoy and the under-the-deck nest was a decoy (hey, those rhyme), the problem with the crab apple nest is that, when approached from the back, it’s wide open to flying predators.
Anyway, both nests were done in a couple of days, although the crab apple nest probably was done after the under-the-deck model. I’m pretty confident that the breeding pair built both of them. I know they all look alike, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it, evidence or no.
This reminds me of another nest that robins built on our property a few years ago, this one right between our house and the rail of our deck. It was a real Hoorah’s Nest!