Wagtails as Pardalote foster-parents

To: <>
Subject: Wagtails as Pardalote foster-parents
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 17:27:44 +1000
Julie McClaren reported placing orphaned baby pardalotes in a Willie
Wagtails nest where the chick and two eggs had been lost, and that 6 days
later  Willie is still feeding her foster children.   Kim Sterelny  points
out that the babies may  imprint on the foster parents and thus be unable to
breed as adults.

I had an idea that Konrad Lorenz in his pioneering work on imprinting,
reckoned this took place very early.  Within the first 48 hours maybe?
Guess there's a big difference though between Greylag Goslings and passerine
hatchlings, especially if the passerines eyes aren't open initially.  Are
they with Pardalotes?

Cuckoos, of course, seem to cope with the problem very well.

Anyway, I do hope that Julie will make detailed notes on her observations as
matters progress and perhaps submit a note to some journal.

Thanks Julie, for a very interesting and heart-warming report.


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