Father’s Day Bird Fun Facts
Stop by the store today and ask our Certified Birdfeeding Specialists which foods and feeders are best for bird dads this season. Here are some fun facts about feathered fathers!
The Father-of-the-Year Award goes to the Downy Woodpecker. Though they share daytime nest duties with their mate, only the fathers incubate and brood at night and they roost in the nest until their offspring fledge.
Chickadee and nuthatch dads feed Mom while she incubates and broods the eggs. Dad also helps feed the young once they have hatched.
Dad’s Favorite Diner
Downy Woodpecker and American Goldfinch dads like to take the family out to eat. When the young brood fledges from the nest, Dad leads them to great food sources as well as teaches them how to use his favorite backyard bird feeders.
Sharp Dressed Man
Ladies love a sharp-dressed man, even in the bird world. Only the most colorful, sharp-dressed House Finch and goldfinch males are preferred by their female counterparts. Carotenoids, a pigment found in foods that create red, orange and yellow to violet colors in feathers, help a potential dad communicate his reproductive fitness via a vibrant and bright plumage. It also shows females that he can be a good family provider knowing where to find quality food and lots of it.
It’s Good to be King
The White-breasted Nuthatch male gets a special protection detail. His mate is the “watchdog,” protecting her man from trouble, leaving him more time to concentrate on hunting for food. She rarely strays far from him and stays in constant vocal contact when more than a few yards apart.
Pygmy and Brown-headed Nuthatches provide future dads with on-the-job training. A third of all breeding pairs of Pygmy Nuthatches have one to three male helpers, usually their own offspring or other relatives. Between 20-60% of breeding Brown-headed Nuthatch pairs have at least one helper. These helpers, which could be future moms too, assist in feeding the incubating female, the nestlings and the young fledglings.
Dads dig tools. Nuthatches, males and females, are one of the few species of birds known to use “tools.” The White-breasted Nuthatch has been known to use certain beetles as a tool by crushing ones that are stinky and sweeping them in and around their nest site to deter squirrels from their eggs and young. The Brown-headed Nuthatch will take a loose flake of pine bark in its bill and use it to pry up other scales of bark in search of prey.
He’s a Rock Star
Adult male Song Sparrows love to perform. They sing about six to twenty different melodies every eight seconds and may average over 2,300 songs during an entire day. The larger their repertoire of songs, the more successful they are in attracting a mate and in holding their territories.
A Family Man
Mourning Dove dads love to raise families. They may have up to six clutches per year, usually with two eggs per clutch. This is the most of any North American bird, most likely due to the fact that the average life span for an adult Mourning Dove is 1 ½ years.
The male Northern Cardinal ‘kisses’ his mate during courtship. He feeds her seeds while courting her and it appears they are kissing.