The Darwinian Chick

Why can’t a baby bird just hatch out of the egg and fly away, or at least, be able to fly a little and not require weeks of constant feeding and attention? I suspect they CAN do this but just refuse to in order to steal parental investment, which is, after all, a very valuable resources. Baby turtles and crocodiles are born as miniature versions of adults. Some birds do this a little. Baby ducks and chickens s are the mensches of the bird world; they don’t spend all that time sitting there uselessly and constantly demanding attention. Sure, turtles and crocs are tiny and vulnerable and most of them get eaten by monitor lizards, seagulls, big fish, or other predators. But baby birds get eaten by predators too (often other birds), so I’m not impressed with the difference….

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Comments

  1. #1 Doug Alder
    July 17, 2012

    I remember seeing this special on some birds on an uninhabited island of Japan – they’re sea birds that spend almost their entire lives on the water – they are slowly losing their ability to fly. The interesting thing was they would only nest on this one island, the island had high ragged cliffs and come nesting time it was real work for these birds to get off the water and gain enough altitude to get to the nesting grounds. Even more astonishing were the chicks – as soon as they had fletched they would “fly” down to the water – “fly” as in tumble out of the nest and fall to the sea, several hundred feet in most cases, bouncing off the cliff on the way down often – but still survive and float, right side up, swimming around until their parents find them. Bloody amazing sight.