Bird's Nest Fungus

August 15, 2022

Bird's Nest Fungus-Arbuckle

Photographer: Kathy Arbuckle 
Summary Author: Kathy Arbuckle 

Springtime is when many bird species build nests to hold their precious eggs and chicks while they’re raised to fledgling stage. There’s a similar occurrence in the fungus world. Found on decomposing organic matter (the specimen shown above is growing on a rotting wooden board), the Bird's Nest Fungus mimics, to some degree, the form and function of avian nests. Although very small, the cup-shaped fungus' fruiting bodies, or peridium, hold tiny "eggs," peridioles, which contain spores. When a raindrop lands on one of these "splash cups," the angle forces the eggs to be expelled out of the "nest" up to 3 ft (0.9 m) away to begin the life process all over again.

Found widespread, the size of the inedible Bird's Nest Fungus ranges from 5-15 mm wide and 4-8 mm tall.  Keep a sharp eye out for them and you may just spot these tiny nests where you least expect them. Photo taken in Spokane, Washington, on March 24, 2022.

Spokane, Washington Coordinates: 47.6588, -117.4260

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