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Title:Fracas at the Nest
Author(s):Antonson, Nick
Abstract:It’s probably quite obvious to anyone that has ever seen a bird’s nest that it can be quite a noisy place. For nestling birds such as these prothonotary warblers, this is by design. Parents typically return to the nest with food items that cannot be split between their offspring, and so they have to make a choice of who to feed. This choice can be overwhelming when all nestlings are begging food, throwing their heads up in a fit and jostling their siblings around. If this were a typical nest, a savvy parent may be able to spot the hungriest or largest nestling and choose to preferentially feed them, but this is not a typical nest. This nest has been infiltrated, and the parents may be starting to suspect, but the damage is already done. These parents have played patsy to raising another species’ baby, a brood parasite, and now it’s larger than their own offspring and more competitive when food arrives at the nest. It certainly won’t make an already difficult job of raising a nest any easier or quieter for that matter.
Issue Date:2021
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Nick Antonson
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-04-12

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