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Re: Birds Came First question.

At 10:04 AM 02/07/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Birds are, with the exception of one (or two?) megapode species, united by
>the following characteristics: intensive parental care during incubation;
>nest siting in the open air (where parental care is necessitated--unlike
>fossorial nests).

This is not true.  First of all, there are more than two species of megapodes
(22 according to the latest monograph).  Second, many birds ARE fossorial
nesters, nesting in burrows in the ground (eg petrels, motmots, kingfishers,
bee-eaters, some swallows and parrots, Australian pardalotes.  Many others
in cavities in trees, termite mounds etc.  Still more build covered structures
to help conceal eggs - many of these are extremely well-camouflaged.  Grebes
cover their nests with floating vegetation when not in attendance.

The function of parental care is far more than nest protection, of course -
in fact at least some megapodes (particularly the mallee fowl) are in almost
constant attendance on the nest mound; parental care ends only when the young
leave the nest.  So I do not think Mr. Bois' generalization is meaningful.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          mailto:ornstn@inforamp.net