Walking between the ponds at Davidsonville Park the other day, I noticed this bird nest slung between two slender branches, twigs really, in a small maple tree overhanging one of the ponds. It almost looked like a tiny hammock swinging in the summer breeze. I couldn’t imagine what kind of bird made such a fragile looking nest. Before long, I glanced at the nest again, and the bird was there. The nest was barely bigger than the bird, who appeared to be warbler-sized.
I thought through the possibilities for this bird. My first impression was a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, as I often see them darting about in this section of woods. However, a bit of research revealed that the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher’s nest is made of spider webs and moss seemingly glued to the branch of a tree. Nothing like the little hammock of this bird. I looked through Kinglets and Prothonotary Warblers, also often seen flitting around the ponds. No nests resembling this little nest. Finally, I posted the picture on our local facebook birders’ page. Many thanks to Emily, Joanne and Hugh who all offered their thoughts regarding the identity of the bird. It was Hugh who correctly identified the bird as an Acadian Flycatcher.
The Acadian Flycatcher is most often identified by it’s song, an explosive ‘peet-sah’ call. This particular bird never sang, so I didn’t have that advantage to help in it’s identification. The Acadian Flycatcher breeds in the eastern half of the United States. They are found in deciduous forests, along streams and in swamps, often hanging their nests over the water. True to form, this bird nest was in a maple tree set in a deciduous woods, overhanging a small pond.