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.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bee carrying a feather

A bird had an unfortunate end in my yard:(  Curiously, I saw a bee taking a fluffy feather from the pile left behind. Why do you think this happened?

My recreation of the event
I don’t know but I could make some guesses:

1. It might have been a wasp. Bees are vegetarians but most wasps are predators and could be going after bird tissue.

2. In dry weather, foraging workers might carry feathers home to capture fluids or dew.

3. Some birds wipe ants on their feathers (a practice called anting) to help combat parasites on themselves. Squashed ants produce defensive chemicals and perhaps the bee used these anted feathers to protect the hive from parasites.

Watch the video of a feather being carried away: https://youtu.be/Hq02gMmPPMI

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