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Re: COWBIRDS....SHUDDER & nest predation



<<Or, more simply: slightly bigger parasite parents scare host 
(foster??) parents off nest.  They lay their egg among host's eggs. Days 
later parasite parents return to rate host parental performance.  They 
drive host parents off nest again.  If their baby is being well taken 
care of, they leave.  If baby has been ejected they improve their own 
future chances by eating host's babies just for the food of it..  
Ultimately this simple rule could translate into selection for a gene 
for parasite tolerance among host species.>>

I have never heard of this from anyone.  Basically all nest parasites do 
is lay their eggs when the host parents are gone and leave.  The baby 
does the rest.  The hosts adopt the baby as their own and care for it, 
even though it is killing their young!  This is how nest parasites do 
their thing; they seem to go for birds that will vare for whatever live 
object is in their nest.  The baby nest parasite gets free parental care 
(and a lot of it since it kills all the baby in the nest ) and free 
shelter.  

Nest parasitizm is simply a way for species survival.  There is usually 
more mortality for birds during the nesting season than during any other 
time.  Letting other parents take care of your young is a cheap way to 
survive.

Matt Troutman

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