ecology

Journal Club: Sing for your supper: fairy-wren chicks must sing vocal password for food

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: Sing for your supper: fairy-wren chicks must sing vocal password for food by Grrlscientist 14 November 2012

SUMMARY: Female fairy-wrens teach their chicks a vocal password before they hatch to distinguish them from brood parasitic bronze-cuckoo chicks How do parents recognize their offspring when the cost of making an error is high? To avoid wasting valuable time and energy by raising chicks of another species that commonly sneaks eggs into its nest, [...]

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Journal Club: The economics of tree swallow brood sex ratios

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: The economics of tree swallow brood sex ratios by Grrlscientist 14 December 2011

Tree Swallow brood sex ratios SUMMARY: Tree swallows reveal that brood sex ratios are an economic balancing act with far-reaching evolutionary consequences Skewed sex ratios have been widely discussed in the news. But a demographic imbalance in the sexes is not purely a human phenomenon: it can occur throughout the animal kingdom. Several studies have [...]

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Journal Club: Bird-friendly California vineyards may have fewer pests

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: Bird-friendly California vineyards may have fewer pests by Grrlscientist 16 November 2011

SUMMARY: Insectivorous cavity-nesting birds can be encouraged to occupy vineyards by giving them nest boxes. New research documents that these birds reciprocate by providing significant eco-friendly pest control services to winegrape growers. I was in graduate school when I first read Rachel Carson’s classic book, Silent Spring [Amazon UK; Amazon US Affiliate Link]. This poignant [...]

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Journal Club: American crows: the ultimate angry birds?

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: American crows: the ultimate angry birds? by Grrlscientist 6 July 2011

Newly published research shows that crows remember the faces of humans who have threatened or harmed them, and these memories probably last for the bird’s lifetime. Not only do crows scold dangerous people, but they include family members — and even strangers — into their mob. The hostile behaviour of crows within mobs allows naïve [...]

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Journal Club: Sparrows show us a new way to have sexes

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: Sparrows show us a new way to have sexes by Grrlscientist 25 May 2011

I’ve always loved white-throated sparrows, Zonotrichia albicollis. Not only are these handsome birds the sister species to my own dissertation bird, the white-crowned sparrow, Z. leucophrys, but I think they are among the most fascinating bird species in the world. In fact, I am so captivated by this species that the chance to pursue my [...]

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