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Bee carrying a birds feather?

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TomatoGrower 

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Hello,

I've tried searching the internet for information and have had no luck so thought perhaps some experts here might be able to answer a question for me.

I'm growing tomatoes in my back yard and have been encouraging bees by various methods, such as placing flowering house plants outside throughout the summer, sowing wild flower seeds, etc. The results have been pretty good and it's been a lot of fun sitting watching bees come and go and noticing patterns to their behaviour and so forth.

Earlier this evening I saw a very curious thing. A few days ago a cat killed a pigeon in my yard and although there was no carcass to be found there were a heck of a lot of feathers strewn about. As I was sitting pondering my tomatoes I saw a single pigeon feather which was swirling around in a jerky fashion. I was intrigued as my yard is sheltered and there was no breeze. I ventured close and was surprised to see what looked very much like a honeybee gripping the feather by it's tip. It succesfully managed to lift it over the adjacent wall and headed off in the direction all of the bees that frequent my yard head in.

Was I seeing things? It was a big feather and looked to be about as large as this bee could manage. I suppose it might use them in some way for maintaining or constructing a hive?

Please let me know if I'm going nuts or if it was not a bee could someone suggest what else it may have been.
 
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Feather-weight weight lifter.
 

gavin 

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Please let me know if I'm going nuts or if it was not a bee could someone suggest what else it may have been.
Yeah, you're going nuts! :smilielol5:

The best I can offer is that the bee got caught up somehow in the little barbs in the feather that hold the strands together.

Beekeepers wanting to track where feral/wild nests are have been known to tie a feather to a bee with fine thread so that they can follow the dogged attempts of the bee to fly home.

There is no way they would deliberately carry home a feather. There are wild bees that do strange things - one of them a leaf cutter bee that cuts out a circle from a rose or hydrangea leaf, rolls it up into a loose tube, and flies off home to provision its nest.

G.
 

trapperman 

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Yes your definatly insane, go and see a doctor before you hurt someone:sifone:
 

susbees 

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Beekeepers wanting to track where feral/wild nests are have been known to tie a feather to a bee with fine thread so that they can follow the dogged attempts of the bee to fly home.

G.
Eureka!! Wasp...thread...feather heavier than one of my workers you s*d...hidden wasp nest(s)...history. Oh that it were that easy :(
 

keithgrimes 

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Recent research has shown that worker bees, despite popular wisdom, get one day off during their foraging life. During this period they are called 'vacation bees'. One of their most popular activities on their day off is parasailing. You have been very forunate to witness this rare event.
 
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Recent research has shown that worker bees, despite popular wisdom, get one day off during their foraging life. During this period they are called 'vacation bees'. One of their most popular activities on their day off is parasailing. You have been very forunate to witness this rare event.
:D
 

susiej 

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I just saw a bee carrying a bird feather and had to let you know that you're not crazy or we both are. haha
 

Mrs Shoot 

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When last inspecting our bees we witnesses about 5 strands of grass, all joined together, floating upwards from the direction of the hive we were working on and out about 20 meters before dropping like....well a small amount of grass. Both hubby and I saw it. It must have bee in the hive (god knows how....must have been us) and when we took the lid off they decided that was the best exit for it.
 

REDWOOD 

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Well done for growing lots of bee friendly flowers, you could have started something here, something else we didn't know about bees
 

oliver90owner 

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I just saw a bee carrying a bird feather and had to let you know that you're not crazy or we both are.

Only crazy if you don't think about it a bit more.

Gavin was spot on with leaf cutters. There are lots of solitary bees. Red mason bees are often supplied with packs of horizontal bamboo canes into which they insert some food, an egg and some packing material before repeating the exercise. They clearly have to carry materials to the hole.

Only needs a little lateral thinking to realise there are lots of other solitary bees and wasps which behave likewise. So it may have looked like a honeybee, but probably was not.

Doubtless bumbles do the same earlier in the season for nest building. I'm not aware if any species line their hibernation quarters, but there may be some that do...

There may even be some that are founding a 'second' nest in this long season.

So, likely a simple answer. Maybe a bee, but not likely a honeybee.
 

alldigging 

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Carrying things away from the hive I can understand ...
I spose the tell would be if the hive is full of feathers next time you go in.

Mine have been seen taking away bits of paper almost as big as a 20p from a merge - the bee couldn't get it over our garage though so dropped it in our garden where I went and found it.
 

victor meldrew 

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Honey bees don't pollinate tomatoes , now I suspect you bee being a ground nesting bumble bee Queen gathering nesting material ,they do like a little insulation in the form of litter under their feet :)
VM


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Peter Nityananda 

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I am glad that I have fond this entry, because I made a similar observation a few days ago. In our case it was not a bee but a wasp who carried the feather. I fact, not just one wasp, but three. One of them even did some effort to bite off a bit of the feather's shaft, probably to reduce the weight. Finally, it took off with a 6 cm long bird's feather.
This happened in our back yard in Weimar, Germany, on a warm day around sunset. I went back the following evenings. Plenty of wasps buzzing around, but none of them did the trick again. The big question remains: What was the purpose? Maybe they just had a bit of fun...
 

bontbee 

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Was it def a feather? Just asking, cos some solitary leaf cutter bees carry bits of flower petal, not just bits of leaf. I had exactly the same a couple of years back - a white-ish thing, apparently being carried on the breeze.
 
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enrico 

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I think the the cannabis I use in the smoker. It makes my bees the colour of rainbows and weeeeeeeeeeeeee!
 

Finman 

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Honey bees don't pollinate tomatoes , now I suspect you bee being a ground nesting bumble bee Queen gathering nesting material ,they do like a little insulation in the form of litter under their feet :)
VM


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When tomato flowers shiver in wind, pollen loosens and do the job.

Tomato is self pollinating.
 

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