Sweet smelling birds’ nests keep chicks healthy, according to a report in Nature Science Update 22 July 2002.
French ecologists studied blue tits on the island of Corsica and found they gather aromatic plants such as lavender, mint, yarrow and other scented herbs for their nests and regularly replenish them as they lose their fragrance. Chemicals in these herbs are known to keep bacteria, fungi, insects and parasites at bay and it seems the birds use them to protect their eggs and chicks.
“They are real botanists and do a great job exploiting their environment to protect their chicks”, said Marcel Lambrechts of the Centre for Functional Ecology and Evolution, Monpalier, France.
Editorial Comment: Recent research indicates that birds are not as stupid as once was thought. They are keen observers of their environment, and they make use of it for their own benefit and pass on such knowledge to their offspring. This is also a lovely example of how God made plants both beautiful and functional. The herbs, and the way the birds use them, are both examples of a good design.
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