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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A bird's nest

A nest is a place of refuge to hold an animal's eggs and/or provide a place to live or raise offspring. They are usually made of some organic material such as twigs, grass, and leaves; or may simply be a depression in the ground, or a hole in a tree, rock or building. Human-made materials, such as string, plastic, cloth, hair or paper, may be used.

Generally each species has a distinctive style of nest. Nests can be found in many different habitats. They are built primarily by birds, but also by mammals (e.g. squirrels), fish, insects (e.g. wasps and termites) and reptiles (e.g. snakes and turtles).

The urge to prepare an area for the building of a nest is referred to as the nesting instinct and may occur in both mammals and birds.


Bird nest

Baby Blue Jays in a nest

Most species of birds build some sort of nest, though some lay their eggs directly onto rock ledges or bare soil without first modifying the area.

Nest types vary from the very simple scrape, which is merely a shallow depression in soil or vegetation, to the elaborately woven pendant or sphere. Some birds will build nests in trees, some (such as vultures, eagles, and many seabirds like Kittiwakes) will build them on rocky ledges, and others nest on the ground or in burrows.

They may have some or all of the following zones: attachment; outer decorative layer; structural layer; lining.

Names of nests



  • Hansell, Bird nests and construction behaviour, CUP 2005, ISBN 0-521-01764-5

See also

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

NEST, the place where a bird lays its eggs, hatches them out, and shelters them until they are fledged. The word is used by analogy of other animals than birds, insects, &c. It appears. in much the same form in Teutonic languages; related to it are Irish read, and Lat. nidus, whence Fr. nid. It has been referred to the Gr. vovros, return home, but it is now established that it represents a form nizdo- for nisido-, from ni-, down; cf. "nether," and sed-, to sit. Sanskrit has nida. The Lat. nidus has given the scientific term for nest-building, nidification.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also nest, and n’est



Old High German nest < Proto-Germanic *nistaz < Proto-Indo-European *nisdós


Nest n.

  1. nest

Simple English

Cup nest with four chicks (baby birds). The pink "runt" in the center hatched only two days later than the others

A nest is place animals build to hold their eggs and/or provide a place to raise their babies. Many times they are made of things like twigs, grass, mud, and leaves; or they may simply be a low place in the ground, or a hole in a tree, rock, or building.

Some mammals, some fish, and some reptiles also build nests (to raise their babies).


Wikisource has original 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica text related to:

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