1 Tahrcountry Musings: Birds that have a Penchant for Aromatherapy

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Birds that have a Penchant for Aromatherapy

The mysteries of nature are always a source of wonder. Think of cleansing your home. You thought only humans do it? Wrong. Scientists have discovered that birds also do it.

The information came from observations of Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) nests. Blue tits use medicinal plants to disinfect their nests. The birds line their nests with aromatic plants to kill bacteria. Plants such as mint (Mentha suaveolens) and lavender (Lavandula stoechas), are used. Scientists observed significant change in the composition of bacterial communities living on blue tit nestlings after the aromatic plants were introduced by the birds in the nests.

According to scientists different birds prefer different aromatics, regardless of their local availability.

There is mystery surrounding the selection of aromatic plants. For example, in a territory with big bushes of lavender, for some unknown reason blue tits collect mint that can only be found far away from their nests. Scientists are keen to find out the reasons behind these personal preferences.

Adele Mennerat and colleagues from France's National Centre of Scientific Research, based in Montpellier, and the University of Toulouse were behind this fascinating investigation.

The details of the research appear in the journal Oecologia.

1 comment:

Terrence Reynolds said...

That is a really informative piece of info