One of the annual highlights of Eliza Howell Park nature walking is spring nesting season. From April through June, I typically see some 20 differemt species building nests, incubating eggs, and/or feeding young.

Baltimore Oriole is one species that nest here regularly, carefully weaving hanging nests.

Photo by Margaret Weber

Eastern Bluebirds nest in cavities.

Photo by Margaret Weber

I am able to provide a taste of this nest-watching experience on an annual field trip in early June, sponsored by Detroit Audubon, where participants see some of the nests present, like those of Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Photo by Margaret Weber

This year, in addition to the annual June field trip, Detroit Audubon is sponsoring a more extensive educational program on nesting birds, a series of 6 guided field experiences in the park for a smaller number of bird watchers.

(In order to focus attention on the bird behavior, those who register are expected to have basic bird identification skills, able to recognize most of the common breeding songbird species in SE Michigan.)

This program is designed so that course participants learn more about the nesting-related practices of many of the more than two dozen species that breed in the park, to gain experience in recognizing the nesting times, habitat, locations, and structures of different species.

Black-capped Chickadees frequently excavate for nests in rotting trees, carrying the chips away so that the location is not as evident to predators.

Photo by Margaret Weber

Canada Geese often nest on the ground near water.

Orchard Oriole young are cared for by both female and male parents.

Photo by Kevin Murphy

Barn Swallows construct their nests of mud and usually add feathers on the inside

Killdeer lay their eggs on the geound, out in the open,”hidden” by camouflage.

Much of what I know about the practices of nesting birds I have learned in Eliza Howell Park. I look forward to assisting others in increasing their knowledge and understanding here.


The course begins on April 30 and ends on June 11. Anyone interested in learning more or in registering can email

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