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.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Feathers as nesting material

Along with grasses, animal hair, fluffy cottons and other soft plants, some birds like to line their nests with feathers to insulate and protect the chicks. One study found that female sparrows will invest more energy into laying eggs according to the male's ability to line the nest with feathers.

According to their results, female House Sparrows prefer males that are able to provide more feathers in a nest. The researchers took away and added feathers to the nests of the fifty pairs of sparrows during these birds' different mating seasons.

They observed that when the females noticed there were feathers missing they animatedly called the males and the male sparrows responded by bringing more feathers and dancing around the female on his return to the nest.

Ninety per cent of sparrows mate for life and keep the same partner from one year to the next; however, numerous factors influence the choice of mating partner. For example, the size of the black patch on the males' chest, commonly known as the bib, indicates their biological quality.

Source: de Hierro, L., Moleon, M. and Ryan, P. Is Carrying Feathers a Sexually Seleted Trait in House Sparrows? International Journal of Behavioural Biology, 119: 199-211, 2013.

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Don’t use treated lumber to build a birdhouse http://bit.ly/x2pIG0
When do birds begin nesting? http://bit.ly/wbJ3kE
DO NOT Collect Dryer Lint for the birds to use as nesting material! http://bit.ly/wC5HcO
 

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