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Colonial birds (was re: triceratops question)



Sam Girouard wrote:
> 
> Do any of the
> extant colonial-nesting birds show any "advanced" or "coordinated" group
> defensive behaviors? Such a situation would be a good place to start looking
> for answers, rather than drawing improbable conclusions from loose mammalian
> analogues.
> 
> Sam

>From what I have observed many colonial nesting birds don't co-operate
at all, in fact they can be so territorial over their small scrape
in the dirt (which is often the only nest shore birds make) that adults
can actively attack the hatchlings of their immediate neighbours should
they stray into the wrong territory. A similar lack of group defensive
strategies seems to be evident in colonial burrow diggers (sheer-waters,
little penguins, puffins). In some colonial nesting species rape is a 
common practice, where young males unable to form a breeding pair will
attack lone females when their partner is not around. In most cases each
nesting pair is extremely territorial over their small patch and it is 
often a case of "every bird for itself". I hope this does not shatter
the illusions of peace, harmony, and co-operation amongst colonial
nesting dinosaurs. The Maiasaura may have been a "good mother" to her
offspring, but based on modern analogies perhaps she was not such
a good aunt.
-- 
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        Dann Pigdon
        Melbourne, Australia
        http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/4459/

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