Watch out for nests

A white-wing dove temporarily flew away from her eggs in a bush in plain sight of a back porch.

Spring definitely is here and new life is waking all around us.

It’s warm enough to get out and spruce up our landscaping, prune back last year’s overgrowth, and reshape trees and woody perennial shrubs.

While doing this, watch for nesting-building birds as well as those birds already sitting on eggs.

Birds will look for and build their nests in trees, shrubs, vines and hedges — anywhere they can find branches strong enough to support the weight of themselves and their eggs, where they can find shelter from the elements, and find camouflage and protection from cats and other predatory animals and avoid humans.

They also look for a nearby water source, native plants that provide food and loose nesting materials that are readily available.

Take care to avoid nesting birds. Watch for the tell-tale signs: a bird or pair flying back and forth to the same place; a dense area in a fork or clump of branches; pieces of cloth, string, moss, small twigs or grasses in branches or below on sidewalks, porches or in the landscaping.

Some birds build very low nests; some build in a scraped area on the ground, hidden in the grass or among rocks or wedged between loose frond stalks in palm trees.

If you encounter a nest while grooming your landscaping, it’s best to avoid that area until incubation is completed and the new fledglings leave the nest.

Lessen your foot traffic in that area as much as possible, and enjoy watching the event from a safe distance, utilizing binoculars and zoom lenses.

One last suggestion. If you encounter an egg on the ground, leave it alone.

As difficult as it is to not intervene, there are various reasons for this, and most experts say to leave it there.

Darla Horner Menking is a Texas Master Gardener and Master Naturalist. Contact her at

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