From my local observations I notice birds, especially swallows and doves, constructing nests on the sides of bridges, and more often than not they overlook deep running water. Do those species develop to the point where they’re good to fly the moment they leave the nest? Or are there instances where fledglings jump the gun or mess up their first flight, and end up drowning?
Both answers re true, they leave nests when they’re able to fly, but young birds can be messy and often end up on balconies, etc. Swallows in the wild make nests on cliffs or similar surfces, so running water doesn’t matter much for them as builders. But birds do make mistakes, e.g. Great Tits often make nests in metallic fence posts and fledglings can’t leave them because the inside surface is too smooth for them to climb. So as those birds, some swallows definitely end up in water, but definitely not all. Doves breed on cliffs or trees, depending on species, they leave nests also as quite developed, though I have more fears about them than swallows.
From my experience birds easily replace rocks and trees with metallic constructions.
I think the running water association is party chance/ availability and might offer some protection from land predators. Some dove species are known for building sloppy nests too, which compounds their issues. I think some birds with sloppy nest construction make up for loss of nestlings (if they are fledglings they have a better chance to survive) by having multiple broods.
I watched a Pukeko (swamphen) build a nest on a reedy patch of the river in the centre of town, right beside the bridge I walked across every day. It was fun watching the parents on the nest, then the hatchling emerging, and right up to the chick running around the bank, and then it became apparent it couldn’t get up the revetment wall to follow it’s parents when they moved on, and the rats got the chick.
Thank you everyone
I had watched a pair of dove fledglings grow up, but then got worried because they were in a nest on a narrow branch, and I was positive they were going to fall out, and our dogs were gonna get them. They didn’t. I was so relieved. But have seen them fall.
If possible, try to keep all domestic pets away from nesting birds by keeping pets leashed, excluded from sensitive areas or indoors (especially cats)! It’s a temporary inconvenience for the humans and the pets but the birds will thank you!
I would have, but it was in our backyard, and my mom doesn’t allow the dogs in the house. :-(
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