The Nesting Birds of Mount Auburn

May 30, 2015


There have been at least 58 species of birds that have been documented as nesting within the grounds of Mount Auburn Cemetery.  Two common breeders are the American Robin and the Baltimore Oriole.  As you might expect, June is a busy month at the Cemetery for nesting birds.

The most common nester at Mount Auburn is the American Robin. Some Robins will start building a nest in early April, though most are started by the first week of May. Incubation is usually 12-14 days and fully fledged young birds can be seen by the last week of May, however the majority of new robins appear in June. Many Robins will have a second and even a third brood. The nest is a deep cup made of grasses, with cloth and string sometimes woven into an inner layer of mud. Most nests are found in shade trees though they can be found on monuments within the Cemetery.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Oriole arrives back at Mount Auburn during the last days of April into early May. They sing up a storm when they first arrive and within days of their arrival their nest building begins. They build a hanging nest; gourd shaped usually bulging at the bottom and made of plant fibers, grasses, hair and string or ribbons that they find. The oriole typically lays four eggs and incubation is 12-14 days. The oriole is rarely heard during nesting.

Many other breeding birds can be spotted at Mount Auburn.  Species that currently breed or have bred at Mount Auburn in recent decades include: Red-tailed Hawk, Mourning Dove, Great Horned Owl, Chimney Swift, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Wren, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow.

About the Author: Bob Stymeist

Bob Stymeist is Bird Observer’s Bird Sightings Compiler and a regular bird walk leader for the Friends of Mount Auburn.

View all posts by Bob Stymeist →

One Comment

  1. Elsa Lichman says:

    great photo by john garp, he always captures a wonderful expressive look on the bird’s face, as if it were enchanted to see us!

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