MAY 19, 2020 10:26 AM PDT

Seabirds Often Deal with Thieves When Scouting for Food

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

In the bird world, parental units will often split responsibilities. One typically stays behind at the nest to protect the defenseless chicks from potential predators, while the other ventures far from home in search of food that it will split among itself, the other parent, and the chicks.

When close to the sea, birds will make quick work of gathering shrimp and small fish near or at the surface of the ocean, but that’s the easy part. The more challenging task is getting that food back to the nest, as there are other hungry birds all around that would gladly battle for the chance to steal pre-obtained food instead of working to snag it from the ocean for themselves.

Many of these entanglements happen in mid-air as the birds attempt to return to the nest. The strong sea breeze keeps the birds in flight even as they stop beating their wings during the skirmish. In most cases, the thieving birds don’t wish to harm the gatherers, but rather steal their earnings for themselves.

A lot of the thievery succeeds as the offending birds attack from above and behind, but those birds that manage to reach the cliff side before being intercepted will be able to feed their hungry families as they wait in the nest for the other parent to arrive.

Related: Are seabird populations in trouble?

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 26, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Iconic Bald Eagles are Thriving
MAR 26, 2021
Iconic Bald Eagles are Thriving
Once dangerously on the brink of extinction, bald eagle populations are thriving throughout the lower 48 states of the U ...
MAR 28, 2021
Plants & Animals
The Protein That Carnivorous Plants Use To Hunt
MAR 28, 2021
The Protein That Carnivorous Plants Use To Hunt
The Venus flytrap is famous for its ability to snap its leaves shut when they're triggered by the touch of an insect. Re ...
MAY 23, 2021
Microbiology
Move Over Bacteria, Make Way for Protists
MAY 23, 2021
Move Over Bacteria, Make Way for Protists
In the world of microbes, organisms like viruses and bacteria get a lot of attention. But researchers are beginning to s ...
JUL 16, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Climate Change Causes Carbon Loss in Soil & Root Problems in Plants
JUL 16, 2021
Climate Change Causes Carbon Loss in Soil & Root Problems in Plants
Concerns about runaway climate change and tipping points of no return are constant sources of fear in our warming world. ...
JUL 14, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Genetic Tools Can Aid Endangered Species
JUL 14, 2021
Genetic Tools Can Aid Endangered Species
Nature is in decline; the planet has lost a tremendous amount of biodiversity over the past few years due to human actio ...
JUL 24, 2021
Earth & The Environment
New Tests Can Sense Previously Undetectable Toxins in Soil
JUL 24, 2021
New Tests Can Sense Previously Undetectable Toxins in Soil
Researchers from Duke University have developed four new tests capable of detecting toxic coal ash contamination in soil ...
Loading Comments...