Agriculture
Making the most of a meal
Watering the Air
Silk’s superpowers
Amphibians
Salamanders and Newts
Salamanders
Poison Dart Frogs
Animals
A Seabird's Endless Summer
Return of the Lost Limbs
Saving Africa's Wild Dogs
Behavior
The case of the headless ant
Hitting the redo button on evolution
When Darwin got sick of feathers
Birds
Rheas
Tropical Birds
Seagulls
Chemistry and Materials
Atom Hauler
Makeup Science
A Diamond Polish for Ancient Tools
Computers
Play for Science
Supersonic Splash
Fingerprint Evidence
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Fossil Fly from Antarctica
Watery Fate for Nature's Gliders
Downsized Dinosaurs
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Giving Sharks Safe Homes
A Global Warming Flap
Ice Age Melting and Rising Seas
Environment
Whale Watch
A Vulture's Hidden Enemy
A Stormy History
Finding the Past
Preserving Ancient Warrior Paint
Ancient Cave Behavior
The Taming of the Cat
Fish
Electric Catfish
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Piranha
Food and Nutrition
The Essence of Celery
How Super Are Superfruits?
Food for Life
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Who vs. Whom
Pronouns
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
March 21-22, 2013: Over 43,000 students will take the GSAT Exam
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Mathematics
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Play for Science
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
Human Body
A Fix for Injured Knees
Disease Detectives
Opening a Channel for Tasting Salt
Invertebrates
Caterpillars
Octopuses
Camel Spiders
Mammals
Beavers
Sheep
Numbats
Parents
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Children and Media
Physics
Black Hole Journey
Dreams of Floating in Space
IceCube Science
Plants
When Fungi and Algae Marry
A Change in Leaf Color
Fastest Plant on Earth
Reptiles
Caimans
Reptiles
Snapping Turtles
Space and Astronomy
Dark Galaxy
Mercury's magnetic twisters
A Planet's Slim-Fast Plan
Technology and Engineering
Shape Shifting
Toy Challenge
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Verb?
Transportation
Middle school science adventures
Ready, unplug, drive
Revving Up Green Machines
Weather
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Earth's Poles in Peril
Add your Article

Thieves of a Feather

Some birds are masters of crime. These sneaky species steal food from other birds—and get away with it. A diverse collection of birds is guilty of such thievery, and scientists have long wondered what these families of birds have in common. A new study suggests that big body size does not predict bullying behavior. Instead, among other traits, it is the size of the birds' brains that matters most. Food theft is also called kleptoparasitism, and about 2 percent of the world's birds do it. That's 197 out of 9,672 known bird species that have been seen swiping food from other bird species. Certain families of birds, including falcons, eagles, and pelicans, are especially prone to stealing. Some songbirds, on the other hand, are less likely to steal. To learn more about what makes some birds tend toward a life of crime, scientists from the University of Québec at Montréal analyzed 856 published reports of theft by one bird from another. Researcher Julie Morand-Ferron, a member of the study team, says she started the project after watching birds in Barbados sneak dry dog food out of unattended bowls. The birds, called Carib grackles, then snatched pellets from each other. For her study, Morand-Ferron considered only birds that steal from other species of birds (rather than from dogs, people, or the thief's own species). She read about some dramatic examples of thievery, including birds that grabbed food from others in midair and high-speed chases during which birds zigged and zagged through the sky. She learned that members of some species harass other birds until they spit up food that they'd swallowed. The team found some patterns among the behaviors of the birds they studied. For one thing, bird families that often steal tend to live in open environments such as ocean shores. There, they can easily see the targets of their attacks. Kleptoparasitic families also tend to eat fish, mice, and other vertebrates instead of just insects. These meatier meals are hard to catch, and they deliver lots of valuable calories, so they are tempting to steal. Finally, kleptoparasitic birds tend to have big brains in relation to their bodies. That may seem surprising, since human bullies are often thought to be stronger in size than in smarts. But for birds, stealing isn't about brute strength. It takes a clever bird to get food out of another hungry bird's claws, especially if that bird is bigger than you are. In other words, birds that steal might deserve some respect. "There's this stigma attached to individuals who steal things to make a living: that they can't catch fish or forage on their own," says David Shealer of Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. But Shealer has studied birds called roseate terns. And the terns that steal, he says, are "far and away the best parents." But don't take this as advice to start swiping cookies from your classmates' lunches. These are birds we're talking about!—Emily Sohn

Thieves of a Feather
Thieves of a Feather








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™