Re: Sentinel behaviour and nocturnal singing

To: "Philip A. Veerman" <>, "Birding -Aus" <>
Subject: Re: Sentinel behaviour and nocturnal singing
From: "Jim Davis" <>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 10:47:41 -0700
 Your point is well taken, but I am not sure if I fully agree with you.  When organizing my article I have divided the phenomenon of sentinel behaviour into different categories.   
At one level there are examples of birds being vigilant irrespective of the needs of others in the group or others in surrounding area (unrelated species).   In these instances, individuals could be exploiting the vigilance of others and "cheating" can occur (explained in the article).  On the other end of the continuum there are the cooperative breeding species that exhibit a variety of cooperative behaviors including coordinated sentry duty.  This type of behaviour is what I was referring too in my previous post asking for examples.  In these species, kin selection and/or social status within the group seem to play a role in the evolution of coordinated sentinel behavior.  
However in the article, I will not even attempt to resolve the type of controversial issues that you raise.  My goal is to present the facts and suggest ways that ibirders can go about observing this very interesting set of behaviours.  As I mentioned in an earlier e-mail exchange with you, I see no harm in speculating about why birds behave the way that they do ... for the fun of it.  I thoroughly enjoy watching and interpreting behavior.  In fact, I no longer keep species lists unless I have witness notable behaviors in the process. 
Thanks for your input ...  you help keep me honest.   It will be a awhile before I get around to writing the nocturnal singing article ... would you care to write it (grin)?
Cheers, Jim
Interpretive Birding Bulletin, Editor
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