Nest-building is learnt skill

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NEST-building is not just instinctive but is a skill that birds learn from experience, research has shown.

Scientists from Edinburgh University filmed male Southern Masked Weaver birds in Botswana as they built multiple nests out of grass.

Their findings contrast with the commonly-held assumption that nest-building is an innate ability. The researchers found that individual birds varied their technique from one nest to the next.

They also saw that some birds build their nests from left to right, and others from right to left.

Dr Patrick Walsh of the university’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “If birds built their nests according to a genetic template, you would expect all birds to build their nests the same way each time.”