Birds Is Smart

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Ray W
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:09 pm
Location: West Virginia

Birds Is Smart

Post by Ray W » Wed May 13, 2020 12:19 pm

From the Middle English poem, "The Owl and the Nightingale":

"The other year a Falcon bred
And left his nest, or turned his head,
And up you stole, as still as a pin,
And let an egg of yours roll in.
Before too long the eggs all hatched
And out of the shells new babies scratched.
The Falcon brought his children meat
And watched the nest, and watched them eat;
And on one side, it came to him,
One of the birds had fouled the rim.
The Falcon was cross with whoever did it
And loudly yawked, and fiercely chid it:
'Which of you messed? By all that sings,
It's not your nature to do such things!
It's an act too foul for beast or man;
Tell me who did it, whoever can!'
Then up spoke one, then another:
'In truth, it was our own dear brother,
That one there, with the head on it;
Alas that he's not shed of it!
Throw him out with the you-know-what
And may that huge head crack like a nut!'
The Falcon believed them and felt no doubt,
And he threw that baby Owl out.
He heaved it out with all his heart,
And the Crow and the Magpie tore it apart.
From which same fable we may draw
A very interesting saw:
Just as it came about with the rude
Young Owl, one born of an ugly brood,
No matter where he may rise or pass,
Sooner or later he'll show his class;
However high his social peg,
We'll know he came from an addled egg.
And the apple that rolls from its parent limb
To lie with apples unlike him,
However far he may have come,
We know pretty well which tree he's from."

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Will Williams
Posts: 2614
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:22 am

Re: Birds Is Smart

Post by Will Williams » Mon May 18, 2020 3:54 pm

Ha! Reminds me of the Jewish cowbird

Parasitic brown-headed cowbird

Brown-headed cowbirds are parasites, which means they benefit from the relationship with the host bird. However, the host bird is negatively affected; right after the host bird lays its eggs, cowbirds sneak in and lay their eggs while the host bird is away. In the process, the cowbird gets rid of one or more of the host bird's eggs. The host bird then raises the cowbird chick, expending energy feeding it and caring for it instead of only caring for their own babies. Since cowbird babies are more demanding and larger, this also has a negative effect on the host chicks.

You might think, given this method of reproduction, that brown-headed cowbird eggs would be difficult to spot, right? Actually, this is not the case. Depending on the type of host bird (the bird whose nest the cowbird uses) nest, brown-headed cowbird eggs can be very easy to spot. They are usually white or tan and covered in brown spots. Imagine seeing these in an Eastern bluebird nest, for example. Eastern bluebird eggs are all light blue, so a brown-spotted egg would stand out quite a bit.

In addition, brown-headed cowbird eggs tend to be bigger than the eggs of the host bird. Cowbirds usually lay their eggs in songbird nests, and songbird eggs are small. The cowbird will usually lay one egg in each nest and use many different nests around the area as host nests.

Brown-headed cowbird babies have a few advantages over their host species. For one, they hatch more quickly. This means they get first dibs on any food brought in by the parents. Brown-headed cowbirds also grow more quickly and are larger than the chicks of their host species. The cowbird babies can therefore grab a greater share of the food than the host species' babies...

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