by Jack MacRae
Most birds do their best to maintain a tidy nest. Removing eggshells, stray feathers, and bits of food is serious business for avian parents. And of course, there is loads of excrement.
Some baby birds defecate every time they eat, up to 13 times a day. Fortunately, nature provides disposable bags to help with housekeeping. Fecal sacs are tough little mucus membranes that hold a young bird’s waste in a tidy pouch, easily carried and disposed of by responsible adults.
Grackles – those shiny blackbirds with the big eyes – are notorious for dropping their fecal sacs into tiny bodies of water with stunning accuracy and amazing frequency. Targets include bird baths, swimming pools, and koi ponds. Researchers believe the intentional placement of feces into water is a deterrent of predators.
How Dedicated Are You?
Truly dedicated students of the subject might want to take a closer look. There are always 2 parts to basic bird poop – the white, uric acid portion (produced by the kidneys) and the dark fecal matter (a product of the gastrointestinal tract). Examination of feces – of course – can often tell much about the diet of wild animals….and can lead to fascinating discussions around the dinner table.