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.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Collecting Bison Hair for Birds

"Bison were a force of nature and served a key role in maintaining an entire ecosystem while providing important ecological services to mankind." - Keith Aune, Wildlife Conservation Society's senior conservationist

For over 5,000 years, many wild bird populations chose bison hair as one of their most desirable nesting materials. Then in the late 1800’s, the number of bison remaining alive in North America declined to as low as 541. Today BisonNest bird bags gives wild birds a new way to gather their favorite nesting material!

Bison hair has valuable fiber characteristics that include softness, strength and heat retention. And results from a 2007 study showed that nest predation was substantially lower on nests lined with bison hair. Findings suggested the use of bison hair masked the nests’ scent from hungry predators.

Bison facts:
- Early American settlers called bison “bufello” due to the similar appearance between the two animals, and the name "buffalo" stuck for the American variety. But it's actually only the American bison (Bison bison) that lives in North America, while two other main buffalo species reside in Africa and Asia. And a small population of bison relatives called the European bison (Bison bonasus) lives in isolated parts of Poland.
- Around 1712 there were estimates of 40-70 million American Bison. Today, there are more than 400,000 American Bison grazing on public and private lands.
Bird gathering nesting material on Bison. Photo from Wikimedia Commons
- It takes 1000 pounds of Bison hair to yield over 350 pounds of clean down hair. Each Bison yields 4-5 lbs of hair. It's collected by shaving the animal or gathering the hair from trees or bushes that they have brushed up against.
- Male Bison can weigh up to 2000 lbs, while the female weighs 1000 pounds. They weigh up to 50 pounds when born and grow to 6 feet tall at shoulder height.
- The Bison can run up to 30 miles per hour and live to an average of 20-25 years.

No comments: