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Birds Join the Property Ladder

We all have ambitions to work our way up the property ladder but a family of blackbirds in Penrtih, Cumbria have taken this concept rather literally! The birds have chosen a ladder as their home and have created one of the most surprising and incredible examples of nest building that you will ever see!

Life between the rungs

Bill and Jo Maddams own a ladder which is on the floor and leaning against a wall outside of their house. They were surprised to discover that blackbirds had taken up residence and constructed no less than ten nests between the rungs. The neat little nests were side by side and one contained a clutch of eggs.

Taking care of garden birds

The Maddams always provide feeders and water for their garden birds and so feathered visitors are a common sight around their property. But one morning Jo looked out the window to see blackbirds hard at work building a new home in the ladder. Over a period of a few days, the birds kept appearing but it wasn’t until the Maddams started their annual spring clean outside that they discovered the extent of the construction project that had been taking place under their noses!

Busy blackbirds

Blackbirds nationwide have been busy building nests but the ladder containing ten nests was an unusual sight. It was probably the result of a rare form of avian behaviour exhibited when birds become confused by identical features in a manmade landscape. We know the feeling!

Avian behaviour explained

In a recent edition of The Emu, the peer-reviewed scientific journal of BirdLife Australia, ornithologists explained this type of behaviour following a report of a willie wagtail which had built 18 nests in a single season! Apparently, birds only gradually learn to concentrate their efforts and to complete one of the nests when they have become so confused.

An important reminder

complete with its nests have been circulated by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The organisation is keen to remind home owners that their properties may be chosen by wildlife as a place to raise their families and that nests can be built in the most surprising of places. Extra caution is required in spring to avoid disturbing the nesting birds.

Birds could be trying to raise their families in any area of your garden including a shed, garage or other structure. In Penrith, the blackbirds unusually chose a ladder, perhaps in the absence of a suitable natural site for their nest.

Have you seen birds’ nests in strange places around your property? Have you stumbled across a nest anywhere unusual at your home or anywhere else? Let us know if you have.


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