Tuesday, 17 April 2012

...A Bit About Bird Eggs.

There are some things that give me nothing but enjoyment. The clickity-clack of trains, playing with Lego, and looking at bird eggs (but not chicken eggs, they're boring). The colours and sizes are really neat to me.

Sadly, making eggs from Lego isn't fun.
One bird, the Cuckoo Finch, lays its eggs in another bird's nest and lets them do all the work of raising the chick. Birds are pretty dumb and on top of that chicks sorta all look the same. I wouldn't even be able to tell the difference between two. I find the behaviour odd and don't see how the Finch benefits from this behaviour. The surrogate bird now has more mouths to feed from limited resources. So the chance of survival is lower for all chicks. The Finch frequently lay eggs in the nests of the Tawny-Flanked Prinia, so the Prinia has to figure out how to avoid feeding a chick that's not its own. It has done this by changing the colour of its egg. This way the Prinia knows who's who. The Finch however also adapted to this and started changing the colour of its own eggs to try and match the Prinia's.

Which one doesn't belong?
This came about when some researchers looked at some specimens of older eggs for some project or other. They found that within just the past 40 years, the birds have fully changed the colour of their eggs. A split second in terms of an evolution time scale.

No he's not. He doesn't even have a Blackberry

And that is what I learned today.

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