Saturday, August 14, 2010

Slutty Birds

The Son of has an academic interest in the Saltmarsh Sparrow, which is a pretty little bird in a kind of ordinary, girl-next-door, way. One of the interesting things about these birds is that they are famous for being promiscuous - in a single nest they have eggs from several different fathers. In a third of nests each egg has a different father, the average is 2.5 fathers per nest. Unlike most songbirds, they do not pair bond and the fathers are Deadbeat Dads. They take no part in rearing the young, their role being pretty much limited to wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am. The proper scientific name for this type of behavior is 'extra-pair mating,' and there must be some survival mechanisms at work that explain it.

In my studies (reading Wikipedia and another source online) , I learned that the Saltmarsh Sparrow just might be the sluttiest bird in the Northern Hemisphere. There are two in the Southern Hemisphere who are just as slutty - the Greater Vasa Parrot of Madagascar and the Superb Fairy Wren of Australia.

I'll say that again because I love it so much - the Superb Fairy Wren.

Now the COG and I are going to paint the ceiling of the upstairs hall. Which we have managed to not do for 8 hours already today.

1 comment:

Vivi said...

I would think that the survival mechanism is dramatic gene pool diversity.

As to painting: