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This winter at the Museum of Coastal Carolina, Allison Smith and Kurt Hugelmeyer have been conducting bird programs every third Saturday of the month. Smith is the museum’s education coordinator. Hugelmeyer is a well-known local birding enthusiast. His bird walks are a must for anyone who enjoys birds. The final bird program of the winter season will be at 11 a.m. May 19 at the museum.
On April 21, Smith’s program focused on bird nests. When most people think of a bird nest, they probably envision a shallow round dish-shaped structure constructed of twigs and leaves. Actually, there are many other types of nests, such as scrapes (shallow depressions in the ground), mounds, burrows, cavities, platform nests and pendant nests.
Birds build nests using a wide variety of materials. Hummingbirds may use fine spider webs for their tiny nests. At the other end of the scale, eagles construct huge nests of twigs. Eagles may use the same nest for many years, adding to the nest each year. If the nest gets too big and heavy, it may even begin to damage the host tree. The largest nests built by any bird are the “bird condos” constructed by sociable weavers; a single nest may house up to 300 birds.
As part of her program, Smith had different types of nesting materials on hand. She encouraged visitors to help themselves. Put outside in containers, this material can attract nesting birds to your back yard as they hunt for nest-building materials.
Visit the Museum of Coastal Carolina at 21 East Second St. on Ocean Isle Beach. Admission is free for museum members. For non-members, all-day admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children ages 3-4, and free for ages 2 and younger. Visit www.MuseumPlanetarium.org for more information about programs and hours.