Lesson 2: Why does the songbird sing??

Topic: Bird Songs vs Calls Theme: A bird species’ song and calls have different characteristics and serve different purposes to enhance survival and reproduction.

Lesson 3: Wait… birds have dance battles??

Topic: Courtship Rituals and Mating Displays Theme: The courtship rituals and mating displays of birds are not only entertaining, but also teach us how natural selection can produce unique behaviors and physical features.

Lesson 4: How does one make a nest??

Topic: Bird Nesting and the Nest Cycle Themes: Nests are important structures for young survival. Nest types and materials vary widely depending on species and habitat.

Lesson 5: How is reproductive success measured??

Topic: MRBO Nest Monitoring Project Themes: One way we can measure reproductive success is by measuring nesting success. We can use long-term nest monitoring data to see how specific factors may increase or decrease nest success.
Common Misconceptions to Watch Out For
  • All bird species are monogamous. Most songbirds in North America will somewhat secretly mate with multiple birds. DNA paternity testing shows that in many species, 40 percent of the young are the result of extramarital mating.
  • Birds pair for life. Splitting up is a regular part of life for almost all birds. Most live with one partner for only a few months or years depending on the species. Annual divorce rates range from 99 percent in the greater flamingo to 0 percent in the wandering albatross.
  • All bird species mate during the same month of a year. We typically think of spring as the mating season for birds, however, this period falls over several months with some birds starting as early as January, while others don’t start until the late summer months.