Americans Dippers gathering nest material

American Dipper standing mid-stream

American Dipper standing mid-stream

Short film and images of American Dippers gathering moss for their nest, which is located underneath a bridge that spans rattlesnake Creek in Greenough Park. Notice that the birds are consistently dunking the nesting material, namely moss. The wetting is thought to keep the moss alive and, therefore, more pliable. The American Dipper nest is ideally placed under a cliff overhang or bridge that is above the home range stream. The nest itself is a large (~1 foot), mossy dome, which consists of an outer shell of moss and grass, and interior cup is made of grass, bark stripes, and leaves. The entrance of the nest is towards the bottom of the dome. Both sexes are responsible for the nest construction, although the female chooses the nest location.

Plumped up American Dipper

Plumped up American Dipper

Selecting the right moss for the nest

Selecting the right moss for the nest

Wetting down the moss

Wetting down the moss

The moss is ready for the nest

The moss is ready for the nest

Written by Radd Icenoggle

I am a native Montanan, who has spent a lifetime as an outdoors and wildlife enthusiast. I earned a degree in biology with an emphasis on habitat relations. During my studies, I had the great fortune to research and compose a thesis that explored the effects of slope aspect on...
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