Besides honoring our dads this month, it’s also the time of year your yard becomes home to a new generation of birds. Bird dads’ roles in raising their young differ greatly from one species to another.
Father of the Year: Downy woodpecker. Though they share daytime nest duties, only males incubate and brood at night and roost in the nest until their offspring fledge.
Proud Providers: Chickadee and nuthatch. They feed Mom while she incubates and broods the eggs, plus help feed the young once they hatch.
Dad’s Favorite Diner: Downy woodpecker and American goldfinch. They like to take the family out to eat once the young fledge and teach them how to use their favorite feeders.
Sharp Dressed Man: House finch and American goldfinch. Even in the bird world, ladies love a sharp dressed man. The most colorful males are preferred. Bright feathers help a potential dad communicate his reproductive fitness.
Deadbeat Dad: Ruby-throated hummingbird. They do nothing to help raise the young. Their only contribution is to mate with the female.
A Family Man: Mourning dove. They love to raise families with up to six clutches per year, two eggs per clutch — the most of any North American bird.
Information provided Linda L. Thomas, owner, Wild Birds Unlimited, 213 Duff Ave., Ames, (515) 956-3145.