By Alexander Frank Skutch, Dana Gardner
In Helpers at Birds' Nests, popular naturalist and ornithologist Alexander Skutch offers shiny, special money owed of a amazing element of poultry behavior--the reduction that one chicken provides one other who's neither its mate nor its based younger and who may possibly even belong to another species. In sleek, transparent prose, Skutch makes available to novice bird-watchers examples of cooperation in species as far-flung because the little rifleman of recent Zealand, the Laysan albatross within the mid Pacific, and the neotropical birds of Skutch's personal Valley of El common in Costa Rica. Skutch describes the cooperative habit of greater than fifty households of birds. every one kinfolk is brought by way of a quick caricature of its distribution and amazing positive aspects, via intimate, nontechnical bills of the beneficial behaviors which were such a lot rigorously studied. Skutch considers the importance of priceless birds and discusses the theoretical facets of cooperative breeding, its evolution, relations choice, altruism, and demography. First came across by way of the writer greater than part a century in the past, cooperative breeding has turn into more and more studied via expert ornithologists. during this increased version, famous behaviorist Stephen Emlen credit Skutch's passionate observations of birds with selling medical curiosity in avian habit. Emlen deals readers a precis of the advances made within the box in past times ten years and areas Skutch's paintings within the context of latest ornithological study.
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Additional info for Helpers at birds' nests: a worldwide survey of cooperative breeding and related behavior
Others have emphasized the value of crèches in protecting the ducklings from ravenous gulls. In the estuary of Page 14 the Saint Lawrence River in Canada, J. Munro and J. Bédard found crèches with up to sixty ducklings attended by one to five adult female Common Eiders, but most commonly they contained seven to nine ducklings with two females. 5 kilometers) away on the opposite shore of the broad estuary, or from the clumping of families menaced by Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus). Often the families separated after a brief union, perhaps with some exchange of ducklings; but if they remained together until the ducklings were older and recognized one another and their guardians individually, the crèches became stable groups that often resisted the intrusion of aliens.
Intraspecific helpers 1. Nestling helpers 2. Juvenile helpers 3. Yearling helpers 4. Nonbreeding adult helpers 5. Breeding helpers a. Unilateral helpers b. Mutual helpers B. Interspecific helpers The subdivisions under this heading are the same as those under A. Except in aviaries, where juvenile helpers are frequent, most known examples belong to subdivisions 4 and 5. II. In nonreproductive activities A. Intraspecific helpers B. Interspecific helpers The examples under both A and B that are at present available are so few that no further subdivision seems advisable.
Regrettably, I have never had the honor of meeting Alexander Skutch. I came close in 1982, when he and I both gave Alexander Wilson Lectures at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Both of our lectures dealt with helping behavior in birds, but my teaching responsibilities at Cornell University prevented my return to Philadelphia to meet and hear him in person. Despite my not having met Alexander Skutch, I feel that I owe him a debt of gratitude. First, for the manner in which he influenced my father, who in turn influenced my own choice of career direction.