Cordilleran flycatcher at the nest, Mount Lemmon, AZ, 3 August 2015 (photo by Donna Memon)
Last week, Karyn Delaney reported a northern cardinal using an old robin’s nest outside her window and we joked in email that the mother took this shortcut because it’s so late in the breeding season.
Cardinals rarely reuse nests but some songbirds do. On Monday Donna Memon and I found a Cordillean flycatcher at her(*) nest at the summit of Mount Lemmon. Because her nestlings were too tiny to see and the nest edges and “launch pad” had fecal evidence of active fledglings, we surmised she was reusing the nest.
Birds of North America Online (BNA) reports that Cordillerans in the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona — the location of Mount Lemmon — build a “cup of moss, sometimes mixed with bark strips or rootlets, [and] lined with fine grass or rootlets.” Cordillerans often reuse nests, sometimes in the same location for 20 years. Perhaps this nest has been recycled many times because it’s much sloppier than a simple cup.
In the next three photos the flycatcher feeds and watches her tiny nestlings but she has to hurry because …
Cordilleran flycatcher feeding young, Mount Lemmon, AZ, 3 August 2015 (photo by Donna Memon)
… this is a late nesting. Winter comes early to Mount Lemmon and Cordilleran migration begins in mid-August so she’ll have to hurry.
It looks like she’s already saved time by reusing the nest.
(*) A NOTE ABOUT “Cordilleran and “she”: Empidonax flycatchers are notoriously hard to identify but the Cordilleran flycatcher is the Empid species that nests on the summit of Mount Lemmon, a sky island in southeastern Arizona. The Cordilleran’s look-alike relative, the Pacific slope flycatcher, is a low elevation bird. Also, for convenience I’ve called this bird a “she” but the males help feed the nestlings so we may have been watching a “he.” On the subject of “he/she” I am borrowing my husband’s Poetic License. 😉
(photos by Donna Memon)