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Bird Watching

Each spring, the birds are busy mating, building nests, and raising their young. On any given day, you can spot dozens of birds at Asbury Woods.

With a leisure stroll and keen eye, you can even spot some of their nests. You’ll need to look high and low, and in some unusual spots. Tools that will enhance your birding experience are binoculars, to help you see up close without disturbing the nest, and a field guide, for species identification.

Here are some bird nests you may find at Asbury Woods:


A robin’s nest that is made of mud, which makes the nest strong and durable to last through the winter. If the nest is still intact, the robin will use it again the following year. This bird will build its bowl-shaped nest in trees, bushes, or under eaves of buildings. Look for this nest in the woods or around the Nature Center

House wren

This type of bird likes to use cavities for building a nest. The house wren looks for natural hollows in trees and old stumps. They will even use established cavities like a used woodpecker holes and constructed bird houses. The male will start a couple of nests and his mating female will pick one to finish, adding material to in order to lay eggs. Look for the house wren’s nest in cavities in the woods and in bird houses in the Little Woods Play Area.


This bird uses bark from a tree, straw, leaves and sometimes roots and then they weave it together. They like to camouflage their nest so no one can see it.  Cardinals lives here all year round.  Cardinals like to make their nest in dense shrubbery or small trees for a little height. Look around in the woods for a cardinal’s nest.


The largest bird in our area does little to make a nest for its eggs. All they do for their nest is find a spot away from traffic, scratch at the ground to make a shallow depression, and at most push some dry leaves together and lay their eggs on them behind a branch or log. Turkeys look for areas that provide some cover, such as the base of trees. Look on the ground as you walk through the trails.

Ruby-throated hummingbird

These tiny birds build their nest in trees 10-20 feet off the ground. Hummingbirds compact plant material and spider webs to make their nest and camouflage the outside with dead leaves. Look for a hummingbirds nest in open woods, by the Celebration Garden, or around our Carrie T. Watson Garden.


This bird’s call is like its name, fee-bee, fee-bee.  Their favorite spot to build the nest is under the overhang of a roof.  They use materials like lint, yarn, mud, sticks, grass and moss to make a sturdy nest. Look around the Nature Center, Picnic Pavilion, and Brown’s Farm Barn for Phoebe nests.

This bird is beautiful to capture in your binoculars, male Eastern Bluebirds are a brilliant royal blue on the back and head, and warm red-brown on the breast. Blue tinges in the wings and tail give the grayer females an elegant look. You may find a bluebird nest lining the trails and in the meadows of Asbury Woods.

What to do if you spot a bird’s nest?

It is not recommend that you move the nest; birds will often abandon their nest if it is moved. Only in extreme circumstances should you consider relocating a nest, and if you do, it must be replaced very close, within a few feet of the original location. Once relocated, watch and make sure the parents are returning. If the parents do not return, contact a wildlife rehabilitator like Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, (814) 763-2574

If you find a young bird, examine its feathers closely. If it is pink with very little down it could have fallen from its nest. If you can locate the nest nearby, gently place the chick back inside. If it has adult wing feathers, it is a fledging bird, leave it alone. It is getting ready to fly and its parents are nearby, caring for it and feeding it. Most of the time the chick at this stage doesn’t need help, they are just practicing flying.

Happy Birding!

Birding is a great activity to do in the spring to watch birds build their nest, lay eggs, and raise hatchlings. Remember to keep your distance and observe from a far. Binoculars can help you see more up close without disturbing a nest. Bring a note book and write down the activity you see and check back every few days to see how things are progressing.

If you’re interested in participating in a citizen’s science bird project please visit NestWatch is a nationwide nest-monitoring program designed to track status and trends in the reproductive biology of birds. Participating in NestWatch is easy and anyone can do it.

You can also view the nests of birds around the world by viewing nest cams through the Audubon Society. Their list of live bird cams can be found here: