Hello there, neighbour!

3 05 2012

Birds are usually depicted as competitors, challenging each other for a female, or a nest site. This is not the case, however, for a European bird the Great Tits create a neighbourhood around them, and nests work together for different situations creating a better environment for reproduction.

If you were a predator approaching a nest of a bird, would you feel threatened by a single angry bird dive-bombing you? Make sure that you are thinking in terms of yourself as either the size of a weasel or the bird the size of a flying terrier. Now think of five or six of these animals mobbing you. As the old saying goes, there is safety in numbers.

These birds do not have automatic friendships, but only start helping each other after about one year of being neighbors. This works well for the species of bird, because they are not migratory birds, and nest in the same place year after year. When a group of birds first nest, they tend to stick to themselves, until they trust each other and work together. Some birds desert their nests if they do not like the neighbouring birds. Because of this joining of forces, younger birds building nests for the first time are not as successful at reproduction as the older more settled birds.

I chose to write about the Great Tits because many people think of humans as the only animals who have what we call acquaintances. These birds occasionally change nesting areas, but the neighbouring birds do not follow.

http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/

http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2012/04/24/rsbl.2012.0183

http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2012/120426_1.html

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