Ornithology as a military surplus tent adventure: 3 useless facts that you will be glad you know

July 19, 2018

I absolutely love to go bird watching. I know, I know... it's not very manly; however, there is just something appealing about pitching the old military surplus army tent my grandpa left me, and sitting in the field for a few days with nothing more than a set of binoculars and my Audubon Society journal. Even though I'm not a naturalist by vocation, I'm still very much in awe of nature.

Bird watching has occupied so much of my time over the years that I decided to sit down and note some of the most useless bits of information that I have to come to know. Here then are three things that you'll be glad to know about birds, but which will never serve you any purpose in any way. Lol, enjoy!

1. Tricky birds. Brown Headed Cowbirds will trick other birds into raising their young by laying their eggs in a nest that isn't theirs. However, Yellow Warblers are smart enough to recognize Cowbird eggs and will build another nest on top of any cowbird eggs they find. Sometimes Yellow Warbler nests are found with over 5 different levels of abandoned eggs layered into them.

2. Industrious birds. Cedar Waxwings are late nesters. The reason for this is that they will often use other birds nests, from which the fledglings have already taken flight, and will use the abandoned nest material to make their own nest, thusly saving itself from many hours of gathering nest materials.

3. Scientific birds. Dark Eyed Juncos, (snowbirds), will build their nests on the ground underneath overhangs, and will line their nests with deer hair or feathers from other birds. Where and how they find this hair and these feathers is unknown to me, but I've seen it quite often, I've even found them lined with horsehair but it's most commonly deer.

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