Bird Feeding Tips
Tips on attracting and feeding backyard birds.
Do both male and female birds incubate their eggs?
Only in some species. Incubating the eggs requires a “brood patch”, an area of skin on the belly that loses its feathers toward the end of the egg-laying period. The patch also develops a supplemental set of blood vessels that bring hot blood close to the surface of the skin. The brood patch is brought into contact with the eggs to provide the necessary warmth for incubation to occur. The feathers will be re-grown once the eggs have hatched and/or the nestlings have grown insulating feathers of their own.
Bluebird nest. Photo by Janet Furlong.
In some species, such as the Mourning Dove, both sexes develop brood patches and incubate the eggs; in others, such as the bluebird, only the female has a brood patch and incubates the eggs. Amazing!