The Downy Woodpecker gets this award. Though they share daytime nest duties with mom only the dads incubate and brood at night and roost in the nest until the offspring fledge.
Chickadee and nuthatch dads feed mom while she incubates and broods the eggs. Dad also helps feed the young once they have hatched.
Downy Woodpecker and American Goldfinch dads like to take the family out to eat. When the young fledge from the nest, dad leads them to top food sources and teaches them how to use his favorite backyard bird feeders.
SHARPLY DRESSED MAN
Ladies love a sharply-dressed man, even in the bird world. Only the most colorful and well-groomed House Finch and goldfinch males are preferred. Carotenoids, a pigment found in foods that create bright feathers, help a potential dad communicate his reproductive fitness via his plumage.
IT’S GOOD TO BE KING
The White-breasted Nuthatch male gets a special protection detail. His mate protects him from trouble and is a “watchdog,” leaving him more time to concentrate on hunting for food. She rarely strays far from him and stays in constant vocal contact.
Pygmy and Brown-headed Nuthatches provide future dads with on-the-job training. A third of all breeding pairs of Pygmy Nuthatches have 1-3 male helpers. 20-60% of all breeding Brown-headed Nuthatch pairs have at least one helper. They assist in feeding incubating females, nestlings and young fledglings.
Dads dig tools. Nuthatches are one of the few species of birds known to use “tools.” The White-breasted Nuthatch has been known to use stinky beetles as a tool by crushing and then sweeping them in and around their nest site to deter squirrels from their eggs and young. The Brown-headed Nuthatch will take a flake of pine bark in its bill and use it to pry up bark in search of prey.
HE'S A ROCK STAR
Adult male Song Sparrows love to perform. They sing 6-20 different melodies every eight seconds and average over 2,300 songs a day. The larger their repertoire of songs, the more successful they are in attracting a mate and in holding their territories.
A FAMILY MAN
Mourning Dove dads love to raise families. They may have up to six clutches per year, usually with two eggs per clutch. This is the most of any North American bird, most likely due to the fact that the average life span for an adult Mourning Dove is 1½ years.
The male Northern Cardinal 'kisses' his mate during courtship. He feeds her seeds while courting her and it appears they are kissing each other.
(Northern Cardinal image from WBU Inc. Image Library)