Bird Breeding

February 9, 2009 by  
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Bird breeding generally begins as the daylight hours of summer increase. Territorial behavior becomes evident with males selecting and defending their territory by means of singing and flight displays. Territories vary in size depending on availability of food and requirements of birds breeding in the area. When a female enters a male’s territory she may be threatened by him as if she were another male. However, she will not fight back or fly away if she is ready to mate, and copulation will take place.

The first eggs are usually laid the day after the breeding pair completes the nest. Eggs may be laid daily or on alternate days, even up to five day intervals depending on the species. For the breeding of birds to be successful, the eggs must be incubated. The parents transmit heat to the eggs by means of brood spots (bare patches on underbelly with many blood vessels). Eggs are turned as often as 12 times an hour and incubation periods vary according to species. When they hatch, some chicks are completely dependent on their parents, these are called altritial. Others are able to run and feed themselves immediately, and these are called precocial.

Many people are interested in finding out about bird species breeding in their area. Studies are conducted and breeding bird atlases are produced which will provide this information. If for example you would like to find out about a British bird’s breeding habits, you would consult a breeding bird atlas for Britain.

The basic concepts discussed above also apply to breeding birds in captivity. For example, when breeding love birds it is important that they receive the correct amount of sunlight so as to stimulate breeding. Breeding love birds can be done in aviaries or individually in bird breeding cages. Bird breeding cages must have enough space for the birds to move around comfortably and continue with normal behaviour. Ensure that breeding pairs are fed properly so that they remain in good condition and that the eggs will not have defects. Once the young hatch, they too require suitable nutrition.

Breeding, whether in captivity or in the wild, is vital for the continuation of bird species and our continued pleasure in these beautiful feathered creatures.

The Pleasure of Pet Duck Ownership

January 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

When seeing a cute little duckling, many an animal-lover is tempted to pick it up, cuddle it and take it home. This urge can become almost impossible to resist if the animal-lover is accompanied by children. Ducks make wonderful pets, but before making a commitment to care for a pet duck that could be around for up to twelve years, it is wise to give the matter careful thought, weighing up (and even writing down if necessary) the pros and cons of adding this fluffy little bird to the household.

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The Bane of Brood Parasites

December 17, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

When we hear the word “parasites”, most of us would assume it is referring to an organism that feeds off another. In brood parasites, in the avian world, it works a little differently. To put in laymen’s terms, it is when one bird species lays their eggs in a different species‘ nest, so that the parasite species do not have to take care of their young. Over the years, host bird species became wise to the brood parasites, but as a parasite does not give up that easily, the brood parasites have come up with various devious plans to fool the hosts.

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A Closer Look at the Intriguing Galapagos Hawk

October 12, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

The Galapagos hawk is found exclusively in the Galapagos Islands. The adult Galapagos hawk is almost completely different shades of brown and the female is larger than the male with an average size of 56 cm in length. It is one of the few terrestrial predators on the islands and has no natural enemies.

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The Bad Habits of Cowbirds

September 29, 2006 by  
Filed under Features

Cowbirds have an unusual life strategy: they lay their eggs in other birds species‘ nests. North America’s Brown-headed Cowbird first evolved this strategy in order to follow herds of buffalo. The cowbirds fed on insects flushed up by the buffalo’s feet. As the buffalo migrated around the Great Plains, the cowbirds followed- even during the birds’ breeding season. If the cowbirds took care of nests, they couldn’t follow the buffalo. So they left their eggs behind in other songbirds’ nests.

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