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Father’s Day fun bird facts

Posted June 04, 2014 in Advice Column, Ames

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.

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