An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Fecal Sacs

A smelly nest is a dead give-a-way to would-be predators, so most birds make an effort to keep their nest fairly clean. (In addition, if the nestlings’ down feathers get matted, they cannot assist in keeping the young birds warm.)  While the young of some birds, such as raptors and herons, defecate at or over the edge of the nest as they age, the waste of  many young songbirds is excreted in what is called a fecal sac – a nice, tidy bundle which the parents carry off and drop at some distance from the nest.  Some species of birds actually eat their nestlings’ fecal sacs when the nestlings are very young, as the sacs still contain some nourishment.

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