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By Jennifer Blizin Gillis

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Extra resources for Butterfly Gardens (Field Trips)

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Natural selection may therefore be expected generally to favor anything that tends to economize on effort, so long as undue sacrifice of any crucial advantage of the species is avoided. Nests are so closely related to habitat and habits in any given species that there has been a tremendous amount of recurrent, convergent, and parallel evolution of nest types among birds, making it difficult to delineate particular phylogenies. In any particular line, evolution may lead to either an increasing complexity or, conversely, to an increasing simplification of nests, depending on conditions.

Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) on its crude nest of twigs in a bush, Galapagos Islands. The platform-nests of some large birds, such as the American Bald Eagle [Haliaeetus leucocephalus) (fig. 11) or the European White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), are largely constructed of twigs and branches and are added to, year after year. Such nests may become very large and very old. Herrick (1932) gives an age of thirty-six years for a Bald Eagle nest, and Haverschmidt (1949) dates back to 1549 one White Stork nest which was still in use in 1930.

A whole series of steps can be traced from loose, crude, irregular weaving (fig. 20) to the close, neat, regular pattern that is to be found especially among those species of weavers that build pendulous nests with long entrance tubes (N. Collias and Collias 1964, N. Collias 1980). Cassin's Malimbe (Malimbus cassini) of central Africa (fig. 24) constructs the most skillfully made nest we know of in any bird. The Compound Nest The compound nest refers to a common nest mass with more than one compartment.

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