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5 bird fathers that are great dads

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Bird fathers have a generally good reputation when it comes to parenting. Not all male birds participate in taking care of the young, but many of them do. Dads’ duties can range from providing regular food to full care of the young. Duties vary widely between species. In some cases, the male does most or all of the work while the female goes off and starts a new nest with a different male.

Great blue heron
Great blue heron Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Great blue heron

Both male and female great blue herons take turns with nesting and rearing duties.  After the young hatch, both parents work hard to bring food to the young.  Once they fledge, dads as well as moms teach their youngsters how to find and catch food.  They care for the young for some time after they leave the nest.

Canada geese
Canada geese Phil Inglis/Getty Images

Canada geese

Canada geese fathers are very protective of their young and mates.  While the female is sitting on the nest, the male goose, called a gander, stays nearby to keep predators and other geese from getting too close.  As the babies grow, the male goose is usually the one who decides where to go and where to eat.

Snowy plover
Snowy plover Darlene Luckins

Snowy plover

With snowy plovers, dad is the one who raises the chicks.  The female usually abandons the brood soon after hatching and makes another nest with another male.  This leaves dad to do all the chick rearing and protecting.  Males also keep hold of the breeding territory.

Killdeer
Killdeer David McNew/Getty Images

Killdeer

Killdeer are famous for their 'broken-wing" act where the parent fakes and injury to protect their young.  Both male and female killdeer incubate the eggs and rear the young.  Males generally hold and defend the breeding territory where the chicks will be raised.

Spotted sandpiper
Spotted sandpiper Darlene Luckins

Spotted sandpiper

Spotted sandpipers sometimes practice polyandry, or keeping a "harem" of multiple males.  But, most of the time, there is only one male and one female.  But, usually the male takes care of the young while the female defends the territory.  This is actually not uncommon among sandpipers where females often abandon eggs or young to breed with another male.

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