Date: 6/25/18 7:38 pm From: Spector, David \(Biology\) via CTBirds <ctbirds...> Subject: [CT Birds] atypical N. Parula nests
The following information might be of use to those attempting to document Northern Parula nesting. The species occasionally uses other substrates where appropriate hanging lichen is not available.
The article "Variable Nesting Habits of the Parula Warbler" by George Petrides has details on several atypical nests (PDF available from SORA at https://sora.unm.edu/node/126443 ).
Here are two quotes from the Birds of North America account:
"One nest in Connecticut was found only a few centimeters above the ground (Bent 1953b), and another in New Jersey only 0.3 m above water (Wilde 1897)."
"Less common non-epiphytic nests reported from areas where epiphytic growth is rare or absent (Petrides 1942b, Hall 1983). Often the birds will nest in flood-deposited debris caught in the branches of trees overhanging a river. Other nests include a pendulant nest constructed of skeletonized leaves and pine needles (Forbush 1929); a hanging nest made of heavy brown wrapping cord and wool and lined with horsehair and rootlets (Petrides 1942b); a burlap sack hanging over a branch; and “witches brooms” in hardwood trees (Hall 1983)."
Thus, Usnea is not a prerequisite for a Parula nest, and looking down, especially wherever there is any sort of tangle, might prove as productive as looking up.