To: "'Denis Wilson'" <>, <>
Subject: Galahs
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 22:50:40 +1000
Hi Denis,
Yes all fair enough. Off the top of my head, the issue about actions that benefit the species is a big debate in a whole range of different cases of any number of groups of species (well beyond birds) and has been for decades. There are good suggestions but few if any, truly proven cases, not because it won't be real but because it is hard to be sure and there are so many other possibilities (just like this one). The debate is about how it can benefit the individual. The problem is that benefit to the species, at least in theory, doesn't work, and it is hard to imagine how it can work, unless we use the "kin selection" model. Ultimately there does not really need to be a reason for everything. We often discuss as though there is a reason. The birds might just like biting bark.
Philip Veerman
24 Castley Circuit
Kambah  ACT  2902
02 - 62314041
-----Original Message-----
From: Denis Wilson [
Sent: Friday, 10 July 2009 10:34 PM
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Galahs

Hi Philip
Yes it is an interesting speculation.
At the individual level, one could simply say Galahs have a compulsion to chew bark on Gum Trees.
But whether it is merely sharpening of the beak, "marking" and maintenance of territory or whatever, it does not rule out an indirect benefit to the species.
Once the tree is wounded, rain and then fungi and insects can make their own inroads, leading to formation of a breeding hole (which these birds then do actively develop and maintain).
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