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nest predation



In what started out as a discussion of energetic investment in
reproduction, somebody mentioned cuckoos' lay-'em-and-leave-'em policy
on eggs, and John Bois (I think it was) pointed out that the cuckoo
eggs still require parental care, just by other parents.  I read a
newspaper report a few months ago of some nest-parasitic species
(don't recall whether it was a cuckoo or cowbird or possibly even
something else) with a nasty habit of showing up every now and then to
make sure its spawn were being properly cared for.  If the unwilling
foster parents had thrown out the alien egg, or otherwise failed to
take care of the young parasite, the visiting absentee parents would
trash the nest and kill any other young in it.  The research had just
been reported recently, so they didn't know yet whether other species
might also use these tactics.  In the species studied, the parasites
invested somewhat more energy than had previously been suspected; and
the parasitized birds were obliged to care for the young parasite in
order to have any hope of raising any of their own.

I don't suppose any known dino nest shows evidence of cuckooesque
parasitism?  Intriguing thought...

Pat