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.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Why birds dunk their food before serving their meals

There is something satisfying about dunking your French fry in your shake and savoring the flavors. Or when you dunk a cookie into a beverage to soften the texture and dissolve the sugars. I was reminded of this today while I watched a chickadee make several trips today with big (big for a chickadee anyway) green caterpillars between his bill and dunk them in the ant moat of my hummingbird feeder.

My chickadee however isn’t thinking about flavor when he dunks his prize in water, he’s thinking about survival. Birds don’t nurse their babies, so the only liquid babies receive is through juicy bugs, berries, and food dipped in water.

Offering a dependable source of water is probably the simplest and most important step you can take to increase the variety of birds in your yard. In fact parent birds will often bring babies to the bird bath as their first road trip.

Birds must be ready to fly at all times, and bathing is a critical part of feather maintenance and staying in top-flight condition. Water is also vitally important when it's extremely hot and a bird’s ability to regulate its body temperature can become stressed. Birds do not sweat and must remove excess body heat through their respiratory system.

So when temperatures rise, a bird's respiration rate increases and birds dehydrate. If that bird still hasn't left the nest they are dependent on their parents to supply liquids.

Related articles:
- Can birds become dependent on bird feeders? http://goo.gl/GZYpke
- Do we stop feeding suet in the summer? http://bit.ly/GKWSRt
- Feeding Baby Birds http://bit.ly/GSHKwY
- Attracting Michigan Songbirds http://bit.ly/GKYw5q

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