Little daughter and I were watching a birds' nest this morning where four little sparrows were getting fed by their mom (or maybe dad?) Each time the mother bird came back, all four sparrows would screech and open their mouths wide and the mother would give one of them some food.
My question is: how does the mother ensure that each chick gets enough food? I can think of at least two theories: 1. The adult bird has enough working memory to know who got the last bit of food, or even who's gone the longest without food; or 2. Hungrier chicks screech louder and the adult bird gives food to the loudest screecher.
Do we know which of these is right, or whether the real answer is something else entirely?
posted by escabeche
on Aug 16, 2013 -
Asking for my sister: Her sweet cat is being obsessively stalked by the neighbor's crazy unstable cat. What can she do to curb this? [more inside]
posted by Ms. Toad
on Jan 31, 2013 -
On a hike in East Granby, CT, my friend came across this
. Its a frog sitting in a fluffy nest sitting on top of a swampy pond. I really have nothing else to say other than is this normal frog behavior?
posted by arveale
on Apr 28, 2011 -
Is there a specific term to describe the coordinated movement of a collective group of animals? [more inside]
posted by Ouisch
on Oct 5, 2010 -
Can you describe the experiment in which an animal is tethered for a period of time, the tether is removed, and the animal still stays within the radius of the tether?
posted by markcmyers
on Sep 4, 2010 -
My cat has grown attached to a stuffed animal. Specifically, a raccoon. What instincts are at work here? [more inside]
posted by inkytea
on Jan 19, 2010 -
My kitten is dry nursing me at night. She won't let me pick her up or pet her during the day. What can I do to strengthen our bond while preserving my sanity? [more inside]
posted by xiaolongbao
on Sep 12, 2009 -
Say I wanted to make an earnest stab at shifting my career path to becoming a canine behaviorist/trainer/rehabilitator. What would my best options be for training/certification and what jobs could I expect to find afterwards? [more inside]
posted by Ufez Jones
on May 14, 2009 -
Our cats are urinating inappropriately, and seem to be targeting our kid. Can the situation be salvaged? [more inside]
posted by scrump
on Sep 14, 2006 -
CatFilter: How can one person restrain a cat in order to put eye drops in the cat's eyes? Without inujuring the cat or person, of course.
posted by Fat Guy
on Jan 12, 2005 -
How can I find a home for a troubled pet? [more inside]
I am at my wit's end and don't know what to do. The problem started when my girlfriend moved in over two years ago, bringing two adult cats along. My two adults did not get along with hers, and we've tried just about everything to get them used to each other. Eventually, we had to just separate them, but it broke my heart to have cats barricaded in my basement, so we decided to just open the basement door to let the cats come and go. It's been like that for about a year without many problems, and I thought I was making some progress when one of my cats started coming upstairs willingly and tolerating the others (being able to sit in the living room with the other cats while we watch TV).
The past month or so has been different, though. My cat started peeing (and worse) on our bed. I draw the line there, because I cannot afford to buy all new bedclothes and mattress pads every couple of weeks.
I would like to find this cat a new home, because I think the basic problem stems from having too many cats in a small space. I know if I take her to the animal shelter, they will have trouble adopting her out, given her past and her age (nine). I doubt an ad would work because she's very skittish (and I cannot in good conscience give a cat away without telling someone about her problems).
Does anyone have any suggestions?
posted by anonymous
on Dec 12, 2004 -