Risks and Rewards of Nest Defence by Parent Birds

@article{Montgomerie1988RisksAR,
  title={Risks and Rewards of Nest Defence by Parent Birds},
  author={Robert D. Montgomerie and Patrick J. Weatherhead},
  journal={The Quarterly Review of Biology},
  year={1988},
  volume={63},
  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

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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.

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  • 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

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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.

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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.
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References

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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.

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