At passing glance, what you’re looking at below might seem just a blobtacular mass of leaf litter caught up in a tree’s branches, but in reality¬† it’s a marvel of engineering and camouflage; a pendulous dangling nest (its entrance at the upper right), constructed tirelessly by a tiny little bird called the bushtit — I call them bushies.

The backyard was without breeding bushies last spring — perhaps because of this tragedy I discovered in March 2008 when a bushie trying to renovate the previous spring’s badly deteriorated nest got tangled in a piece of thread and died. It’s buried directly beneath where that nest hung, and yes it still makes me sad.

Ironically the bushies go to such great lengths to build a covert hideaway nest that’s very well protected and easily missed, only to give its location away because of their incessant chirping as they move in and out of it and around the tree boughs. That’s how I was able to find it yesterday.

If I get the time and motivation next weekend, I might set up a BushieCam, but in the meantime I’m just glad they’re back.