While most birds make seasonal nests depending on the circumstances each year, one bird that nests in Greenland has laid down roots that stretch back millennia. The gyrfalcon, which is the largest type of falcon, nests in the craggy cliffs of Greenland, among other Arctic locations. But they may be forced to move with the climate if things continue to warm up.
Scientists have confirmed that one gyrfalcon nest in Greenland is more than 2,500 years old. It has been continually used by these majestic birds since before the Roman era, and its neighbours include three other nests that are more than 1,000 years old each.
The one gyrfalcon nest in the limelight has been confirmed as the oldest known bird nest on the planet. Experts say that gyrfalcons use their nests generation after generation, raising their young in the same spot where they themselves were reared. But these experts believe that climate change may soon drive them away because the gyrfalcon only lives circumpolar to the Arctic Circle, according the BBC news.
Experts date their nests by measuring the depth and age of their guano. In the case of the Greenland nest at Kangerlussuaq in the west-central region of the island, the guano is more than two metres thick, preserved by the cold northern climate.
“While I know many falcon species re-use nest sites year after year, I never imagined we would be talking about nests that have been used on and off for over 2,000 years,” one researcher told the BBC news outlet. The most recent nest discovered is between 520 and 650 years old.