How fledglings and their parents negotiate the best time for young birds to leave the nest

phys.org | 6/21/2018 | Staff
shardonay (Posted by) Level 3
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A team of researchers at the University of Montana has found that fledglings and their parents must negotiate to find the right time for the young birds to leave their nest. In their paper published on the open access site Science Advances, the group describes their study of many types of birds and how they figured out when fledglings should leave the nest.

Many birds build nests to lay their eggs and to hold the young after they hatch until they grow old enough to fly on their own. But how do the baby birds and their parents know when it is time for them to leave? That question, the researchers point out, has not been studied very much. For that reason, they designed and carried out a study to find the answer.

Study - Types - Songbirds - Camera—that - Understanding

The study consisted of videotaping 11 types of songbirds using a high-speed camera—that allowed them to gain a better understanding of the flying skills of birds. They also watched as the birds grew older and carefully noted the time points at which the young birds left the nest—and how they fared.

The researchers found that there were differences between species—some parents allowed their offspring to stay in the nest longer while others did not. There were also differences in mortality rates between species. Those that left the nest earlier found it tougher going than those that stayed in the nest longer—fewer of them survived because they had not yet developed strong flying skills. On the other hand, young birds...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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