Monday, May 20, 2013

An Engineering Degree

Think of how much education is entailed in obtaining an engineering degree. Not just anyone can design an office building or a high-rise or even a single family home. It takes years of learning followed by years of apprenticing under the tutelage of more experienced engineers.

Contrast that with a bird building a nest. That may seem laughable at face value, but more thought goes into construction of a nest than meets the eye. The main point I wanted to make in this comparison is that one major difference between an engineer and a bird, is that the bird's building knowledge is innate. It does not go to college to learn how to build a nest.

All birds are tied to habitat. You aren't going to find too many Wood Thrushes in fields, let alone their nests. They prefer to live and nest in a forested area. There are many other choices that the bird takes into consideration that are not so obvious. They prefer certain types of trees. A wood thrush will rarely build a nest in a conifer. The nest will be situated at a certain level from the ground. Even wind and sun/shade may be taken into account. The thought that goes into siting a nest includes where on a branch is the best place to build. Often where two major limbs branch off is choice location to use as a stable platform to construct the nest. 

In these photos you can see the thrush has chosen the junction of three branches to build her nest. There are still other considerations, including what type of materials are used to construct the nest and the ability to camouflage it from predators. There are probably still other concepts, but you get the idea. A lot more goes into construction of a nest than just slapping some leaves together.

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