Ask Lafeber


October 28, 2020

male building a nest with out a female

7 weeks ago, a little zebra finch showed up on my porch. I live in Washington. He has been here everyday since. Made himself right at home, loves the bird bath etc. The weather has started to get cold dipping into the low 30’s and high 20’s. Everyone said, you should give him a nest, I said no, they only use nests for eggs. Well! This little guy built himself a nest! It’s huge! Not sure if he’s hoping to get lucky with an american finch or what?!?! Poor little guy, I think will be sadly disappointed. But he will be nice and warm! Ever heard of this? It’s almost November. I did read that they will breed after heavy rains, maybe that’s what brought on the nest building? I know he can puff up his feathers just like the rest, so I wasn’t really worried about him getting cold. The whole nest thing just has me baffled! Thanks for reading and your thoughts.


Hi Debra,

The best thing for this little guy is if you can manage to catch him. They are not native to the US and he is not likely to survive a winter in WA. He is likely surviving by feeding at bird feeders. He either escaped from a home or a breeder. Even though he has built a nest, that is not likely going to keep him warm enough when the really cold weather comes. He’s not from a climate that has the type cold or precipitation as WA. If you have a cage, you might be able to lure him in with some food, and even move the nest into the cage. The native birds will not accept him – they are more likely to chase and attack him. He has found your porch to be a safe haven which is why he has stayed there. If you can capture him, at least he can have a home and hopefully a companion at some point, even if you are not interested in keeping him. I’d hate for you to find him frozen to death one morning. Most likely he has built the nest hoping to attract a female, as he doesn’t understand there are none of his kind around. Thank you for looking after the little guy and good luck if you try to bring him back indoors.

Take care,


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