Date: 1/13/21 10:10 am
From: 'George Hammond' via Birders <birders...>
Subject: Re: [birders] Hawk poop
Grackles often nest near water and are widely reported to deliberately drop fecal sacks into water, even into small puddles and birdbaths. Might be a particularly effective way to hide them from nest predators. Could be worse, some birds eat the fecal sacs of their nestlings. <> <>


> On Jan 12, 2021, at 8:31 PM, Penny <dorfdoom...> wrote:
> I used to have a pool which was surrounded by Arbor Vitae where
> grackles love to nest. Every year they would fly over it and drop the fecal sacks in the pool. Quite inconvenient but I suppose it was better than loose stools.
> Penny.

>> On Jan 12, 2021, at 8:03 PM, Allen Chartier <amazilia3...> wrote:
>> Stevie,
>> Great photo! Yes, that is what is going on...the parent waxwing is removing a fecal sac directly from the nestling's cloaca. The fecal sac is often white, but waxwings feed their young a lot of fruit so can be a different color.
>> To address the comment about this possibly being related to the process of females laying eggs, I'm pretty sure that nestling male birds can projectile-poop as well as females, so I suspect there is a different process here. It is my guess that egg laying is something more like peristalsis that occurs in our own intestines to move food along through our digestive system, while the poop-shooting needs more force. Maybe our "enslaved by ducks" guy near Grand Rapids has some insight? Or maybe Janet Hinshaw has something better than my suppositions?
>> On Tue, Jan 12, 2021 at 7:21 PM Stevie <Stevie19...> <mailto:<Stevie19...>> wrote:
>> I think that this might be what Allen was talking about parent and baby's fecal sac maybe...
>> On 1/12/2021 8:10 AM, Allen Chartier wrote:
>>> April,
>>> I don't know about the anatomy and musculature, but many birds have the ability of projectile pooping. It has been described as an adaptation for getting their feces well away from the nest, not only for nest sanitation but also to protect from predators tracking the nest location.
>>> Baby birds cannot do this when they hatch, so parent birds take their fecal sacs (another unusual adaptation) well away from the nest. As they get older, baby birds develop the ability to shoot poop over the edge of the nest so I imagine it is muscle development.
>>> On Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 7:53 AM April Campbell <adc14...> <mailto:<adc14...>> wrote:
>>> So, I was observing my local female Coop perched on my newly erected screech owl box, when she lifted her tail and emitted a propulsive stream of poo ten feet across the yard! My question is this: are their special muscles in the cloaca that contract to allow such a power poo? What evolutionary purpose might exist for having a fire extinguisher for an anus? I checked a couple of anatomy books, but there no discussion on this topic I guess I should be glad she didn’t dribble all over the box!

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