The title of the recent article “The More Feathers a Male Sparrow Carries to the Nest, the More Eggs the Female Will Lay” from Science Daily, sums up the very point of the news piece. While not too surprised that a good provider would generally encourage more offspring from a mate, it was still interesting to me to learn that female house sparrows (very good customers of ours) will spend more energy in laying eggs in a nest lined with an abundance of feathers supplied by the male. The more feathers there are, the more insulation from cold for the chicks, increasing their survival rate.
I like the lady birds thinking.
What I found completely endearing though was the description of the female’s reaction to an experiment of removing some feathers. It reads, “They also observed that when the females noticed there were feathers missing they animatedly called the males and the male sparrows responded by bringing more feathers and dancing around the female on his return to the nest.”
So even in the bird world, when a female sounds the alarm “Hon? HON! What happened to the feathers? We need more feathers! NOW!” Her faithful male hops to it and not only gets her her feathers, but calms her and makes a show of having fulfilled the request and prancing about as if to ask, “Is m’lady happy now?”
What a good guy!
If you’re not the biggest bird fan or maybe just not a fan of house sparrows, consider what these bird couples do that are not so unlike us.