September 10, 2012 11.53 am This story is over 136 months old

Conference studies construction of bird nests

Bird brains: Delegates from across the world will be studying the construction and functions of the bird nest in Lincoln this week.

Scientists from across the globe have arrived in Lincoln for the first ever conference of its kind — looking in depth at bird nests.

The conference from September 10 at the University of Lincoln looks at the construction and function of the nest for three days.

It’s organised by Dr Charles Deeming from the University’s School of Life Sciences, who is an expert in avian reproductive biology.

The conference will hopefully conclude in better understanding on how birds build nests to give eggs proper incubation and rear chicks.

Dr Deeming added: “Up to now nests have been perceived as just the receptacle for eggs and chicks, however, there is an increasing amount of information to suggest they are a lot more than that.

“One of the areas we are interested in is using the study of nests to understand climate change. The conference will explore how nests function, how they are constructed and the decision making process behind that.”

Deeming has already found in his research that environment can impact how Blue Tits and Great Tits build their nests.

He found that cold conditions when birds set up home in nest boxes correlate with bigger and more insulated nests, rather than the less bulky nests when it’s warmer.

There are no eggs during the construction period, so this suggests that birds build nests not just to keep eggs and chicks warm, but also themselves during incubation.

He said: “It is really exciting to have such a wide range of scientists all together in one place to discuss how bird nests work.

“Despite our good understanding of eggs and their development, the roles that nests play in bird reproduction are only now being considered seriously.”

There will be delegates from 12 different countries, and the conference will be hosted in The Think Tank.

Source: University of Lincoln | Photo: msSeason