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When a mother bird returns to her next after being the "early bird, & getting the worm", how does she decide which offspring to feed.

All of her babies will welcome her with open mouths, but how does she know which one is the hungriest?

Bergstrom (2009) argues that each baby bird is selfish & wants its hunger needs satisfied, yet if chirping is notification to the mother for food, it also increases the likelihood of predation.

Ulitmately he argues the need for food trumps the risk for predation & chicks will chip until satisfied, yet if a chick is fulfilled, it will not put itself in danger, & let its siblings eat.  "Because the begging signal is costly (in terms of predation), it ends up being honest as well".


Reference

Bergstrom, C. (2009). Begging for food. Honest Signalling Theory: Examples from Biology.  Retrieved from http://octavia.zoology.washington.edu/handicap/honest_biology_03.html.

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