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Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Chicken Eggs as Drug Factories
Poison Dart Frogs
Bee Heat Cooks Invaders
New Mammals
Ultrasonic Frogs Raise the Pitch
Pipefish power from mom
The Snappy Lingo of Instant Messages
Hitting the redo button on evolution
Tropical Birds
Chemistry and Materials
Atomic Drive
Getting the dirt on carbon
Spinning Clay into Cotton
Earth from the inside out
Galaxies on the go
Getting in Touch with Touch
Dinosaurs and Fossils
From Mammoth to Modern Elephant
Dino Babies
Meet your mysterious relative
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Deep History
Island of Hope
Coral Islands Survive a Tsunami
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Giant snakes invading North America
A Newspaper's Hidden Cost
Finding the Past
Early Maya Writing
An Ancient Childhood
Of Lice and Old Clothes
Tiger Sharks
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Electric Eel
Food and Nutrition
Building a Food Pyramid
The mercury in that tuna
Sponges' secret weapon
GSAT English Rules
Whoever vs. Whomever
Problems with Prepositions
Order of Adjectives
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Math and our number sense:
Human Body
Tapeworms and Drug Delivery
Spitting Up Blobs to Get Around
Workouts: Does Stretching Help?
Giant Squid
Horseshoe Crabs
Children and Media
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
Extra Strings for New Sounds
Gaining a Swift Lift
Stalking Plants by Scent
Underwater Jungles
Getting the dirt on carbon
Sea Turtles
Space and Astronomy
Roving the Red Planet
A Whole Lot of Nothing
Pluto's New Moons
Technology and Engineering
Slip Sliming Away
Shape Shifting
Supersuits for Superheroes
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Preposition?
Robots on a Rocky Road
Middle school science adventures
Where rivers run uphill
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
Either Martians or Mars has gas
Watering the Air
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Revenge of the Cowbirds

Cowbirds are famous for their wily ways. These North American birds sneak into the nests of other birds, lay their eggs, and quickly escape before the owners return. They don't do any of the hard work it takes to raise chicks. Instead, they leave the parenting to the nest's owners. Given cowbirds' reputation, that's not totally surprising. But here's what might come as a shock. Even though the birds that live in these nests don't belong to the cowbird species, most of them adopt the big, hungry cowbird chicks and raise them as their own. Scientists have long wondered why the new parents raise the greedy chicks. New evidence now suggests that sometimes the birds have little choice. If they kick the moocher chicks out of the nest, the cowbird parents seek revenge. For a decade, researchers from the Illinois Natural History Survey in Champaign and the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville have been monitoring warbler nests in boxes in southern Illinois. During that time, they often saw cowbird eggs in the warbler nests. The nest boxes sit on poles that the scientists have covered with grease to protect the eggs and chicks from raccoons, snakes, and other predators. Then, in 2002, the scientists tried something new. They removed the cowbird eggs from the warbler nests. Suddenly, unknown attackers started to destroy warbler eggs. But the damage wasn't evenly spread among the nests. The scientists found that that warbler eggs were damaged in only 6 percent of nests that held cowbird eggs. A whopping 56 percent of the warbler eggs were destroyed in the nests from which the scientists had removed cowbird eggs. The scientists suspected that the cowbirds might be the culprits, but they needed to prove it. To do so, they removed cowbird eggs from the nests and then changed the entrance hole to keep the cowbirds from returning. When the suspected attackers couldn't get into the nests, the warbler eggs remained untouched. Cowbirds, researchers concluded, are like mafia members: If a warbler doesn't give them what they want and raise their chicks, the parent retaliates. It's a tough balance for the warblers. When their nests are invaded, cowbird chicks eat so much food that some warbler chicks starve. Still, the scientists say, more warbler chicks survived in this group of nests than in the group where researchers removed the cowbird eggs. Too many of those nests were attacked by vengeful cowbird parents. Sometimes, this study suggests, it's better to put up with a bully than to try to fight back.E. Sohn

Revenge of the Cowbirds
Revenge of the Cowbirds

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