Risks and Rewards of Nest Defence by Parent Birds

  title={Risks and Rewards of Nest Defence by Parent Birds},
  author={Robert D. Montgomerie and Patrick J. Weatherhead},
  journal={The Quarterly Review of Biology},
  pages={167 - 187}
Nest and offspring defence by birds can be treated as an optimization problem wherein fitness benefits are determined by the survival of the current brood and fitness costs depend upon the probability that the parent will survive to breed again. At the optimal intensity of defence, net fitness benefits are maximized. Unlike many other aspects of animal behavior, the reproductive consequences of nest defence can often be measured directly. Within this optimality framework, we review the current… 

Avian Nest Defence: Theoretical Models and Evidence

It is concluded that life-history theory can account for most of the variability observed in nest defence patterns, and integrates previous models and generates new predictions concerning variables not previously included, namely predatory risk for both parents and offspring and age-dependent defensive tactics of nestlings.

Nest defence behavioural reaction norms: testing life-history and parental investment theory predictions

Strong stabilizing selection for optimal plasticity, in combination with life-history trade-offs, might explain the high repeatability of nest defence and its link with reproductive success.

Parental Investment Theory and Nest Defence by Imperial Shags: Effects of Offspring Number, Offspring Age, Laying Date and Parent Sex

While parental defence increased with brood value according to offspring number and age, parental defence was not related to laying date, a factor strongly affecting offspring survival and recruitment probabilities in this species.

Nest defence by song sparrows: methodological and life history considerations

  • P. Weatherhead
  • Environmental Science
    Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
  • 2004
SummarySeveral aspects of nest defence behavior were investigated in song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) in eastern Ontario. Two independent tests were made of the hypothesis that the increase in nest

Nest defence in great tits Parus major: support for parental investment theory

The large manipulation effect on brood value was possible only because the breeding success of northern great tits is exceptionally low, suggesting that great tit clutch adjustment strategies are not adapted to the harsh northern environment.

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Changes in nest defence by both sexes during the nestling period in meadow pipits, Anthus pratensis, agree with the predictions of the feedback hypothesis.

Defending the Weak: Parental Defense Peaks When Chick Vulnerability is Greatest in the Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)

It is shown that parents are most defensive when chicks are most vulnerable and that adults optimize nest defense behaviors in a way that maximizes their fitness.

Risk taking during parental care: a test of three hypotheses applied to the pied flycatcher

The model predicts that the importance of the reproductive value of the offspring should decrease relative to the harm that offspring would suffer if they were not cared for when the predator type changes from a nest predator to a predator of adults, and when conditions for breeding turn from good to bad.



Why Does Intensity of Avian Nest Defense Increase During the Nesting Cycle

A new explanation is presented for the observed correlations between offspring age and level of nest defense and it is suggested that when an observer repeatedly visits or brings a potential nest predator to a nest, nest-defense behavior of parents is modified by positive reinforcement and loss of fear.

Reactions of Some Panamanian Birds to Human Intrusion at the Nest

This study reports on the defensive behavior of adult birds near their nests and its relationship to other aspects of breeding behavior, including the reactions of adults and nestlings to human intrusion at the nest.

Nest defence and evolution of reversed sexual size dimorphism in Snowy Owls Nyctea scandiaca

Describing and comparing nest defence of males and females, test male and female defence responses in relation to brood size and briefly discuss selective forces for sexual size dimorphism are reported.

Parental investment in nest defence by stonechats (Saxicola torquata)

Defence as parental care in tawny owls (Strix aluco)

Individual females in pairs that defended their offspring had a lower probability of breeding the following season than did females in non-defending pairs, suggesting that parental defence is a plastic behaviour.

The Costs of Reproduction and Their Consequences

  • G. Bell
  • Economics
    The American Naturalist
  • 1980
This paper identifies the effects of different types of reproductive cost on the pattern of life histories, and argues that experimental tests of life history theory are not yet feasible, and that the authors must instead rely on comparative techniques.

How Do Great Tit (Parus Major) Pair Mates Cooperate in Brood Defence

Using economic theory CHASE (1980) predicted that a member of a group should contribute to the group's common interest, i. e. cooperate, as a function of the other members' contributions. In a group

Anti-Predator Aggression in Birds Nesting in Old Field Habitats: An Experimental Analysis

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