Birds seek out habitats that suit their needs in order to find food and raise their young. Although food plays an important role in seeking the right territory, a place to make a nest and lay eggs is more crucial for the birds' survival. A male bird will claim a territory first, with a female following about a week or two later.
According to Jan Mahnken, author of "Hosting the Birds: How to Attract Birds to Nest in Your Yard," a habitat is described as the kind of landscape a particular species needs. The territory is what birds use to space themselves out on a given habitat to raise their young and find food, according to John Gooders, author of "The Practical Ornithologist: What to Look for, How and When to Look for It and How to Record What you See."
There are two types of bird territories, according to Mahnken. The first type of territory consists of the amount of land a pair of birds needs in order to maintain enough food for the parents and young and support them as they take care of the nest. Mahnken said because incubating eggs and carrying for the young occupies a tremendous amount of birds' time, they must minimize the area that they search for food. The second type of territory consists of the territory the male must defend in order to keep other males of his own species away. The males usually defend a small territory in the immediate vicinity of the nest and use common ground as the feeding territory.
Selection of a Territory
Male birds usually select a specific territory to ensure the proper distribution of their own species. Becoming familiar with a specific area enables them to be self-sufficient, reserving a specialized nesting site and avoiding predators so food and nesting materials can be easily found. One of the most common ways a male defends its territory is singing.
Gooders said the essentials of a territory do not lie solely on the abundance of food, but rather the breeding space a particular territory provides. The territory provides the birds with a chance to build their nest, lay their eggs and raise their young. Territory is crucial in the success of new bird generations.
Behavior of Birds After Territory Found
The male will arrive at a territory first and prepare a breeding site, Gooders said. The territory will then be defended by a male bird display and his singing. About a week or two later a female will arrive to seek out a territory-holding male. After the male display occurs, mating will take place.