How Birds Safeguard Their Nests

In an experiment using zebra finches which are native to Australia, scientists at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland discovered some interesting choices made by the birds.

Zebra finch males are the ones that build the nests. Choosing 21 birds, the researchers wallpapered the walls of their enclosure with blue, pink or yellow pastel colors. Then they gave the birds a choice of some paper strips that matched the wallpaper and other strips that did not.

The majority of zebra finches chose the colors that matched the wallpaper. The scientists concluded from the results that the birds purposely chose the colors of the wallpaper in their enclosure to camouflage their nests to protect them.

The birds also interspersed the non-matching strips among those that matched, a method called “disruptive camouflage”. This is to fool predators into believing that it is not a nest.

These test results should put to rest the idea that anyone with a “bird brain” is not too smart.

These findings can help people who build bird feeders for outdoor birds make better color choices, matching the environment, for the birds’ safety.

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