The Kid Should See This

What do bluebirds eat?

Ask any birder what birds eat and you’ll hear “seeds, fruits, and insects.” But during reproduction, arguably the most important weeks of a bird’s life, 96% of North American terrestrial birds eat insects and other arthropods. Why? Because insects are great food — high in protein and rich in high-energy fats.

But which insects, specifically, are they eating? Surprisingly, we don’t really know. The best studies so far only classify orders of insects. But such broad categories assume that all caterpillars, for instance, are equally valuable to particular birds species.

So… what do birds really eat? And what do they feed their nestlings? Entomology & Wildlife Ecology-focused graduate student Ashley Kennedy set up cameras on 40 bluebird nest boxes in Delaware to find out. The resulting video, produced with Justin Bredlau, narrated by Jessica Bray, and conducted in Doug Tallamy’s Lab at the University of Delaware, is one of the five finalists in the Entomological Society of America‘s 2018 YouTube Your Entomology Contest. And the answer?

Caterpillars were identified as the dominant prey group, followed by orthopterans and spiders. Improving our understanding of bluebird diet is vital for conservation efforts.

Help Kennedy and her colleagues with the science! Submit your photos of birds with insects in their beaks at whatdobirdseat.com.

Next, watch more food chain videos and these videos of baby birds: A mother blackbird feeds brand new baby birds in their nest, up close with a Carolina Wren as it feeds its nesting baby birds, hummingbird hatchlings in their nest with mother Rosie, and how do baby flamingos become pink?

via Entomology Today.

This feature is being tested. Saves will disappear if you clear cookies. Find saved videos here.

🌈 Related videos

The deep-sea scavengers that feast on whale fall

Rion Nakaya

Trying To Save The Red Crowned Cranes Of Japan

Rion Nakaya

Dead stuff – The secret ingredient in our food chain

Rion Nakaya

The Dodder Vine Sniffs Out Its Prey

Rion Nakaya

Home Sweet Habitat & Food Webs – Crash Course Kids

Rion Nakaya

Camels vs. Cactus: Eating a prickly pear cactus with 6-inch needles

Rion Nakaya

Bird migration, a perilous journey – TED Ed

Rion Nakaya

1000s of Bugs, 100 Islands, 1 Happy Entomologist

Rion Nakaya

You’d Never Guess What an Acorn Woodpecker Eats – Deep Look

Rion Nakaya

 
Browse the TKSST Video Collections

Get 7 smart videos delivered every week.

 

Subscribe