The demand for feathers as building material by woodland nesting birds

Hansell, M. H. (1995) The demand for feathers as building material by woodland nesting birds. Bird Study, 42(3), pp. 240-245. (doi:10.1080/00063659509477173)

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Abstract

The demand for feathers as a nest-building material was investigated by placing feather patches in woodland and garden sites between January and June 1993 and March and April 1994. The first of 18 species to breed in the area which use feathers in their nests was the Long-tailed Tit. The feather requirements of this species are known to far exceed that of the other species. Long-tailed Tits were shown to forage actively for feathers up to 115 m from the nest but possibly not as far as 200 m.

Patches generally remained untouched during the 24-h exposure but when detected were typically heavily exploited. Complete disappearance of feather patches occurred sporadically right to the end of the study.

The woodland contained only a low standing crop of moulted feathers and it is concluded that natural feather patches resulting from kills are important for birds who need this nest material. It is suggested that Long-tailed Tits may be attempting to avoid competition for feathers by nesting early.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hansell, Professor Michael
Authors: Hansell, M. H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Bird Study
Publisher:Taylor & Francis Ltd.
ISSN:0006-3657
ISSN (Online):1944-6705

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