Mariton: Another Reason to Stay on the Trails

June 1, 2016

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

Ovenbird nest right beside a trail.

Ovenbird nest right beside a trail.

Staying on the trails is important for wildlife. On Tuesday’s bird walk we discovered this Ovenbird’s nest. It was literally one foot off of the trail (a designated trail that doesn’t get a lot of use).  While the nest is recognizable from this angle, it was totally hidden from every other angle.  It would have been easy to take a step off of the trail and crush the nest.  Several bird species nest on the ground in both fields and forest.  Not only is crushing a nest a real possibility when people and pets wander off trails (even just a little bit), but it can also spur the parents to abandon the nest.  Ovenbirds get their name from their nest.  It resembles old fashioned dome shaped clay oven (or a modern pizza oven).

Ovenbird singing.

Ovenbird singing.

Preserve Managers and volunteers spend a lot of time maintaining our trails for visitors.  We hope that people use these trails to visit the great wildlife habitat that we provide, and have opportunities to see interesting animals and plants.  But please protect the wild things that you are coming to see by staying on the trails and keeping dogs leashed.