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Help--Huntsville, AL--nest/bird in garage

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Old Friday 18th November 2005, 23:51   #1
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Help--Huntsville, AL--nest/bird in garage

Hi all,
I don't know much--anything, really--about birds and was wondering if I could get some help. I've noticed a nest in my garage for the past couple of months. It's up on a shelf, and too high for me to investigate without getting very close to it. I'm afraid to do this, since from what I've been told, close proximity from humans to a nest might spook the mother into not returning to feed the children. However, the nest is in a very tenuous position, and I'm afraid a heavy gust through my dog doors or through the door to the driveway, when open, might knock it over, and then my dogs are going to make short work of any living things within. So I'm debating whether I should move it or not, and if so, how to. These are the relevant facts and questions (or so they seem to me) that I'm thinking about:
1) I live in Huntsville, Alabama, which is near the very north of the state at the Appalachian foothills. Would a bird even have eggs/young here in mid-November? I know nothing about their birth cycles.
2) I've often come out to the garage and seen a bird flying around it in the past couple of weeks. I figured it just got in by mistake until it happened several times, and then made the connection to the nest. I don't know how to identify most birds and, besides, couldn't say anything about this one except that it's little and blue. So unfortunately I have to frame my questions without much regard to species. But, generally,
3) Does the presence of this bird near the nest indicate that it has young in it, or might it frequent the area of the nest regardless?
4) If it isn't possible that there are young in it in this time of the year, can I move it or throw it away without adversely affecting the bird (except of course for its wasted labor)? My dogs make this a pretty dangerous place for a bird to hang out in, not to mention the risk of it being crushed in the electric door, and so if I can I'd like to get it to move elsewhere.
5) If it might be inhabited, and I should move it, what would be the best way? Trying to slide it over with a stick or something from a distance would be likely to cause it to fall. Could I use gloves or something similar to do it more directly, or would my disturbance be detectable by the mother (?)?
Thanks to anybody who might know what to do here. I'm sorry that I can't be specific about what type of bird it is. If there's any more information needed for advice that I may have forgotten about, please let me know.
Winston Boyd
Huntsville, AL
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Old Saturday 19th November 2005, 01:14   #2
KC Foggin
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Hi Winston and a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum

First, I don't believe there would be any nestlings at this time of year. More likely, your bird is using it as a roost for the night. I would be inclined to think that it was built and used by another bird during the breeding months - possibly a wren? They love building nests in places like this.

In the event that this was breeding season, I would hesitate to disturb the nest in any way but the plain truth is even if it were a viable nest the parents would probably return to feed their young as long as the interruptions were not frequent.

Chances are, if you moved the nest to an outside area, it would not be used by the same bird that you are seeing.
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Old Saturday 19th November 2005, 01:34   #3
Dave B Smith
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Hi and welcome to Birdforum. Not sure what your visitor is but since the nest is in an awkward place, it is mid November (late for almost any breeding), and the bird is going into your garage, I'd say put a ladder near the nest and peek inside. (Most birds won't abandon a nest just because of one unwanted visit).

If it's empty, query solved, feel free to discard it.
If it has little ones, I'd just be patient and let them fledge (the most dangerous time for them would be when they are first leaving the nest as some species young often "jump out" several days before they can fly).

If you can try to pay attention to the details on the bird and post a bit longer description I suspect someone will have a good idea what it might be.

The most common birds found in garages are little Carolina Wrens (brown though) and Barn Swallows (bluish back with beige to tan breast). Barn swallows build a nest of mud rather than twigs. Here's a link to some info on Barn Swallows
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