Birds nest in suitable locations to create a safe space for laying eggs and raising their young ones. Also, nests protect birds and their eggs from their predators. That being said, when do birds stop nesting?
Birds stop nesting at mid-summer, as the official nesting period is from early spring to mid-summer. However, this isn’t the case at all times. Factors such as ecology, species of birds, laying intervals, etc., also affect when birds stop nesting.
These factors vary from location to location. Read below to know how different factors affect when birds stop nesting and how to help nesting birds.
What Time Of The Year Do Birds Stop Nesting?
More often than not, birds stop nesting mid-summer. They start nesting officially from early spring to mid-summer, which is from February to August. However, the official nesting period doesn’t hold sway all the time.
Factors such as weather, predators, ecology, species of the birds, location, etc., affect when birds stop nesting. You have to track the bird’s lifestyle in question before you can get the exact time. It is important to note that the precise timing varies according to local conditions.
For instance, the temperature of an environment affects when birds stop nesting, not even building nests on your house. If there is a variation in the temperature of a location, the temperature the eggs need to survive will be affected. As such, birds may stop nesting due to such unsuitable temperature changes.
Temperature also affects mating. For instance, a suitable temperature can cause birds to mate earlier than usual. For this reason, they will lay eggs and build nests earlier than expected. They will also stop nesting even before the end of the official nesting period.
In addition, laying intervals also affect when nesting stops. Laying intervals are periods between when birds start nesting and when their young ones can survive independently. The more time it takes the young ones to be independent, the longer the laying interval.
Furthermore, local conditions affect nesting. How favorable a location depends on how many times the birds lay eggs and nest in a year. If an area is unsuitable and eggs rarely survive, birds will have more nesting periods than others living in more suitable locations.
Local conditions also determine the length of the mating period. For example, birds in higher latitudes have shorter mating periods, making them stop nesting early in the year. Some mate early at the beginning of the year and nest before Spring.
Equally important is the amount of food available. Birds don’t mate until there is enough food for themselves, their mates, and their babies. If an adequate amount of food isn’t available in a particular location, nesting might not occur during the usual time.
Nest predators determine the exact timing of nesting too. Animals who often prey on birds’ nests include snakes, raccoons, possums, and other birds such as eagles, crows, etc. Predators can eat the clutches of eggs birds lay, making nesting unsuccessful.
Birds who are unsuccessful with nesting because of predators keep nesting until their young ones finally survive. As such, these birds might not stop nesting even outside the official nesting period. However, not only predators make nesting unsuccessful.
The health of the eggs determines the success of the birds’ nesting too. Sometimes, eggs are born diseased, which affects other healthy eggs. Once the birds realize that their eggs can’t hatch into young birds, they leave to lay another clutch of eggs and build more nests, which delays their nesting period.
Finally, the mating ritual of the species of birds in question determines when nesting stops. Some birds are promiscuous; they have multiple partners. Therefore, their mating rituals are usually shorter.
If a mate dies, they are quick to find another mate and continue laying eggs and building nests. Therefore, they stop nesting earlier than birds who are faithful to their mates.
These birds have more extended mating rituals. They also take their time before finding another mate if their partners die. As such, the start and end of their nesting period are delayed.
In light of these factors, not all birds stop nesting at the same time. To determine the exact time when birds stop nesting, you have to study the species of the birds, the weather conditions, food availability, level of exposure to predators, etc.
How to Help Nesting Birds?
Since birds usually nest to breed their young ones as the eggs can only be developed outside the bird’s body, they need all the help they can get during nesting season.
For instance, if you stumble upon a bird’s nest, don’t destroy it. I would advise you don’t revisit the place too. Predators can easily pick up humans’ scents, which might lead them to the birds’ nests.
If you have bird feeders on your property, you can help by cleaning and maintaining the feeders regularly. This will prevent the birds from contracting diseases when they come to feed. Ensure the feeders’ aren’t in places predators can attack.
Also, if you have birdbaths on your property, keep them clean and shallow. Birds often visit birdbaths with their young ones for family baths. Ensure the baths have water as often as possible.
Don’t cut the vegetation on your property during spring. You might destroy the nests in the process. If you want to trim your hedges, do so before the official nesting period – spring.
Don’t take away the materials birds use in building their nests too. Fallen leaves, twigs, eggshells, etc., are beneficial for birds who are building their nests. You can also place some of these materials in places the bird can easily collect them.
If you have pets, which can prey on birds’ eggs, ensure you keep an eye on them during the nesting period. Dogs and cats know how to look for birds’ nests on your property and eat the eggs or fledglings. Don’t take your pets along when going to a bird’s nest, either!
You can help birds by leaving their favorite foods in places they can easily pick them up. Nesting birds need to feed themselves, their mates, and fledglings during nesting, so they need all the food they can get. You can also plant food sources for birds such as hawthorns, guelder rose, etc., in your garden.
Don’t relocate bird nests except in extreme conditions. If you want to do so, hire a wildlife professional to help you with it. To keep birds from nesting on your property, use bird nets.
Even though the official season for nesting is early spring to mid-summer, not all birds follow this pattern. Birds can nest earlier or later due to factors such as local conditions, weather, etc. You have to study these factors from a holistic approach to determine the exact time birds stop nesting.