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Browse our Q&A about birds, eggs, nests, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals of the Central Coast and Channel Islands.

What kind of bird made this nest?

During the recent wind storm, this nest fell out of a tree in our backyard. It fell out of either an Ash or a California Pepper Tree that grow side by side. The nest is quite large. Can we donate it to your collections?

Cayce, Goleta - March 1, 2023

Curator Response

Hi Cayce,

Your images from different points of view with a ruler for scale show us that this nest is a little too small for Red-shouldered Hawk, and too big for California Scrub-Jay. Our best guess is that it was an American Crow’s nest. Thank you kindly for thinking of us with your offer to donate this nest, but it will probably do more good if it remains in your yard as a source of materials for future nesting birds from a variety of species. If you put it back up in the tree, it may even be used by opportunistic species that reuse old crow nests.

Stay curious,

Curator of Vertebrate Zoology Krista Fahy, Ph.D., and Volunteer Manager (and birder extraordinaire) Rebecca Fagan Coulter