Agriculture
Vitamin D-licious Mushrooms
Making the most of a meal
Treating peanut allergy bit by bit
Amphibians
Salamanders and Newts
Bullfrogs
Toads
Animals
Sea Giants and Island Pygmies
Saving Africa's Wild Dogs
Ant Invasions Change the Rules
Behavior
The Science Fair Circuit
Between a rock and a wet place
Slumber by the numbers
Birds
Geese
Hummingbirds
Kingfishers
Chemistry and Materials
The chemistry of sleeplessness
The hottest soup in New York
Spinning Clay into Cotton
Computers
Electronic Paper Turns a Page
Getting in Touch with Touch
A Classroom of the Mind
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Digging Dinos
An Ancient Feathered Biplane
Dinosaurs Grow Up
E Learning Jamaica
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
Earth
Slip Slidin' Away—Under the Sea
Science loses out when ice caps melt
Deep History
Environment
Improving the Camel
An Ocean View's Downside
Blooming Jellies
Finding the Past
Sahara Cemetery
Settling the Americas
Meet your mysterious relative
Fish
Electric Ray
Tuna
A Jellyfish's Blurry View
Food and Nutrition
Yummy bugs
How Super Are Superfruits?
Strong Bones for Life
GSAT English Rules
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Capitalization Rules
Problems with Prepositions
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Mathematics
It's a Math World for Animals
Detecting True Art
Monkeys Count
Human Body
What the appendix is good for
Don't Eat That Sandwich!
Electricity's Spark of Life
Invertebrates
Lobsters
Sea Anemones
Fleas
Mammals
African Hippopotamus
Miscellaneous Mammals
Basset Hounds
Parents
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
How children learn
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Physics
Powering Ball Lightning
IceCube Science
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
Plants
Making the most of a meal
Fast-flying fungal spores
Surprise Visitor
Reptiles
Lizards
Crocodilians
Crocodiles
Space and Astronomy
An Icy Blob of Fluff
Unveiling Titan
Planning for Mars
Technology and Engineering
Space Umbrellas to Shield Earth
Reach for the Sky
Drawing Energy out of Wastewater
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
Pronouns
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Ready, unplug, drive
Troubles with Hubble
Weather
Watering the Air
A Change in Climate
Recipe for a Hurricane
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™