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Thread subject: Maternal instinct? Or just smart?
Name Date Message
Shelley 06/05/05 03:06 pm I love how Betty positions herself in the nest. Is she perched on that 9 o'clock edge in order to keep the chicks inside the nest, or is she in that exact spot because, under the scorching sun today, that's the only place that will provide shade for her young babies? Is this true instinctive reflex or is it just good mothering? If she is, indeed, a first-time mother (which we can't really know), then it can't be based on previous experience, so therefore, it must be nature as opposed to nurture, instinctive as opposed to *learned* behaviour.

What do the experts say, Celeste? Cec? Anyone?
Celeste 06/05/05 04:03 pm We know that Carpentieri, Poole and other books say that osprey parents do not interfere with sibling rivalries, nor do they intervene when a chick is on the verge of being tossed from the nest by an older nestmate. I tend to believe that what we see is instinct...shading from the sun, rain,cold, even the act of feeding.....it's the male that is necessary to be more experienced than the female, because of the better chance of getting fish....therefore, though I have not seen this addressed in the books that I have, I would say it is instinct on the part of the hen when it comes to caring for her chicks.
Marie 06/05/05 04:51 pm I guess it is instinct rather than maternal behaviour. Since their entire lives are based on food collection and preservation of the species I would imagine many behaviours we watch are instinct. But when it comes to moving sticks around the nest by the little ones could we consider this a learned behaviour or otherwise. The chicks watch their parents so could the little one that moves the most sticks be a MALE. Since this function is most often carried out by the male at nest building time and when on eggs incubating, could it be a behaviour that we could use to determine if we have a female and male chick in the nest right now. Or is this behaviour of moving sticks around, genetically programed into the male within the egg.? I hope I am making sense.
Celeste 06/05/05 05:06 pm I understand Marie.....I just read in Carpentieri's book that orphaned or hacked osprey fledglings will actively hunt for food on their own, with no preliminary training at all. So maybe it is "all" instinct?

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006