Post by Steve Creek
I hope you enjoyed last month’s article that I wrote about observing birds and their behavior. To carry forward with that series, I would like to share a few photos of a Red-winged Blackbird removing the fecal sac from their young. This is not a strange behavior, but one that many people do not know about.
A fecal sac is a mucous membrane, usually white or clear in color with a darker color on one end. The sac surrounds the feces excreted by the nestling. Fecal sacs are usually excreted after the nestling has been fed, but this varies with the different species of birds.
Some parents will eat the sac until the nestlings get a little older and some will remove the fecal sac by grasping it with their beak and taking it away from the nest. Both parents usually help with this task.
There are several reasons why parents remove fecal sacs from the nest, but the main reason is for safety for their young. The scent of the fecal matter could attract predators to the nest.
Not all species of birds generate fecal sacs and young birds usually stop producing them before they fledge.
You can visit my site to see a Robin doing the same thing: A Robin Removing Fecal Sac