About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Birds picking the grit off roof

Since birds don’t have teeth, grit can have an important role in helping them digest their food. The grit is swallowed and remains in the part of the digestive system called the gizzard.

The food and grit are ground together by the muscles in the gizzard, resulting in the food being broken into smaller pieces. Whether a bird needs grit is determined by its diet.

The harder the food that a bird consumes, the more grit it needs. Seed-eating birds need more grit than those that feed on insects or fruit, and species that have a variable diet will change their grit intake accordingly.

American Goldfinches are seed eaters predominantly and need to take in more grit, perhaps explaining this photograph that Lynn sent me of a flock of finches picking the grit off the shingled roof.

Another reason could be that they were thirsty. A seed diet is also a dry diet and requires more water. Melting snow on a roof would help quench that thirst.

Thank you Lynn for sharing your interesting photograph!

Related Articles:
- European Goldfinches http://bit.ly/Q2Cu37 
- Goldfinch Migration http://bit.ly/MzGSPD 
- Are Goldfinches here in the winter? http://bit.ly/PZu5ML
- Goldfinches: The Last Birds Nesting http://bit.ly/PZuejj
- Bird of the week: American Goldfinch http://bit.ly/PZum2a

No comments: