Birds using herbal remedies to survive

Herbs and Birds

We all know how beneficial herbs are to humans, but it is possible that birds use herbs to protect their nests and their young? 

Three years ago in New Orleans –  Ohio Wesleyan University  did a survey that suggested birds selected nesting material with antimicrobial properties.

  “If the fresh herbs and plant materials, that parent birds bring to their nests, have a sufficient concentration of these chemicals, they could protect the nestlings from harmful bacteria and infection.

“By practicing medical botany, parent birds exercise effective home nest security and protect their offspring from select biodegrading microbes that affect the health of their young

“Results of tests showed that several types of plant materials ….. inhibited the growth of a number of harmful bacteria. “


Taken from material provided by American Society for Microbiology.
  • Could our British birds, such as sparrows,   have an inherited knowledge of medical botany? 
  • Could sparrows know what  herbs and plants to use to keep their nests clear of harmful microbes and bacteria that could kill their young?
  • Do all birds have  this inherited knowledge of what plants and herbs to use to keep their nests clear of bacteria?

How amazing if this is so!  It gives all birds a knowledge and a kind of wisdom that I never thought they could possess. 

Could it be that my garden birds know more than me about the useful properties of herbs?!

It could explain, in part, why some birds have bad breeding seasons.   It could be possible that (at nest building time) there is a lack of the herb or plant that would keep the nest free of bacteria.  This would mean that bacteria could breed freely and could perhaps kill the newly hatched chick.

Nature is amazing.   Birds are amazing.


Kate Vincent has done a really detailed study about the decline in sparrow numbers.  Could the fact that sparrows cannot keep their nests free from bacteria be one reason they are declining?





A thought for the day:  Another survey done in Australia seems to show that crocodiles and birds have something in common.  A  pigeon and a crocodile have been shown to both use the sun, stars and the earth’s magnetic field to get home!  Maybe some of our knowledge is inherent in every living thing

 Have a good day

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