Thursday, 26 April 2012

Birds Form Alliances With Long-Term Neighbors

Like contestants on the game show "Survivor," the small birds called great tits form alliances with their neighboring great tits to defend their nests.

New research shows how the neighboring birds will work together to fend off predators such as woodpeckers — but only if they have been neighbors for over a year. Then they will collaborate in an anti-predator action called "mobbing."

"They give a loud alarm, they make these conspicuous, exaggerated flights, and they hover and swoop down on the predator. … It gets quite loud and the birds are very agitated," study researcher Ada Grabowska-Zhang, a graduate student at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, told LiveScience. "The more individuals participate in that behavior, the more likely they are to succeed."

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