The Bird That Nests Like an Alligator

Jambo! Mr. Nature here. Spring has sprung, birds are building nests all over the neighborhood: but our video safari takes us to Australia, and a very different kind of bird’s nest.

The Australian brush turkey belongs to a group of birds called “megapodes,” and their nests are huge piles of heaped-up leaves that can weigh up to four tons. The male constructs this hill and digs a hole in it, the female lays the eggs in the hole, they fill the hole–and then, instead of sitting on the nest, the male guards it from predators and from time to time adds or subtracts from it to regulate the nest’s internal temperature. If you’ve ever had a compost heap, you know that decaying vegetation produces heat. The bird knows that, too.

When the young finally hatch, they dig their way out of the nest and fly away–no further care needed, they’re good to go.

Who else makes nests like that? Alligators, that’s who! Megapodes’ nests are just like gators’ nests and work the same way. Except alligators can’t fly, so when the eggs hatch, the mother gator carries the babies to a nursery pool where both parents can defend them from predators–like, for instance, guys who want to film videos of baby alligators.

When the male brush turkey has to defend the nest from predators, he kicks into their faces a storm of leaf litter. That’s usually enough to send them packing.

Please feel free to ignore the evolutionary spiel provided by the narrator.

This is God’s stuff, and it works.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

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