Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Are birds social with different species?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Tuesday 29th October 2019, 03:32   #1
Cryper
Registered User

 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: NYC
Posts: 6
Are birds social with different species?

Hi,

I noticed there are some birds that will hang out with birds of another species like a rock pigeon and I think house sparrows. I was wondering what dictates this behavior between birds? Is there some benefit to one another or are birds actually social with one another?
Cryper is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 29th October 2019, 12:14   #2
Nutcracker
Stop Brexit!
 
Nutcracker's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 19,547
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

One of the best examples is co-operative hunting between Harriers (ground attack predator) and Merlins (aerial pursuit predator) - if a bird flies to escape the Harrier, the Merlin gets it; if the bird crouches down to escape the Merlin, the Harrier gets it.

Other times, they're just both attracted by the same food source, that's likely what's happening with the Feral Pigeon / House Sparrow flocks.
Nutcracker is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 29th October 2019, 12:26   #3
dantheman
Bah humbug
 
dantheman's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Cornwall
Posts: 12,497
Blog Entries: 2
A lot of passerines have similar 'predator alert' calls and strength in numbers cuts across the species barriers - a sole bird of one species can latch onto a group of another.

In the UK Little Egret can follow eg shallow swimming Cormorant to pick up disturbed prey.
__________________
stithiansreservoirbirding.blogspot.co.uk/ - last update 10/11/15 - really rather remarkable still!!!
dantheman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 29th October 2019, 12:44   #4
Andrew Whitehouse
Professor of Listening
BF Supporter 2020
 
Andrew Whitehouse's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Aberdeen
Posts: 20,314
A favourite of mine is Asian Desert Warblers following Wheatears.
__________________
Andrew

Listening to Birds
Andrew Whitehouse is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 29th October 2019, 17:27   #5
Nutcracker
Stop Brexit!
 
Nutcracker's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 19,547
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Whitehouse View Post
A favourite of mine is Asian Desert Warblers following Wheatears.
And likewise, Whitethroats and (if you're lucky!) Dartford Warblers following Stonechats
Nutcracker is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 29th October 2019, 19:24   #6
fugl
Registered User
BF Supporter 2020

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 15,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by dantheman View Post
A lot of passerines have similar 'predator alert' calls and strength in numbers cuts across the species barriers - a sole bird of one species can latch onto a group of another.
Classic US examples are the mixed “winter“ flocks of small insectivores. Ones that I’ve encountered recently at my local patch in Oregon have variously consisted of up to 6 species: Black-capped Chickadees (always, as the core), Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creepers, Bewick’s Wrens, Downy Woodpeckers.
__________________
Bird photos (Flickr): http://www.flickr.com/photos/fugl/
". . .Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet."

--Gerard Manley Hopkins
fugl is online now  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 29th October 2019, 20:59   #7
nartreb
Speak softly and carry a long lens
 
nartreb's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 1,389
Quote:
Originally Posted by fugl View Post
Classic US examples are the mixed “winter“ flocks of small insectivores. Ones that I’ve encountered recently at my local patch in Oregon have variously consisted of up to 6 species: Black-capped Chickadees (always, as the core), Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creepers, Bewick’s Wrens, Downy Woodpeckers.
Similarly, it's common to see large mixed flocks of ground-feeding birds - mostly taking seeds but the group size helps catch insects, as well as provide cooperative defense. On lawns in the Northeastern US, especially in fall, you'll have large groups of grackles mixing freely with blackbirds, often joined by starlings, rubbing elbows with robins (T. migratorius) , plus various sparrows will follow along and dart in when one of the larger birds scares up a small insect.

Beyond mere species, birds will engage in similar opportunistic feeding behavior with large herbivores, and also humans, farm machinery, and fishing boats. It's not so easy to define "being social"...
nartreb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 30th October 2019, 03:41   #8
Cryper
Registered User

 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: NYC
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by nartreb View Post
Similarly, it's common to see large mixed flocks of ground-feeding birds - mostly taking seeds but the group size helps catch insects, as well as provide cooperative defense. On lawns in the Northeastern US, especially in fall, you'll have large groups of grackles mixing freely with blackbirds, often joined by starlings, rubbing elbows with robins (T. migratorius) , plus various sparrows will follow along and dart in when one of the larger birds scares up a small insect.

Beyond mere species, birds will engage in similar opportunistic feeding behavior with large herbivores, and also humans, farm machinery, and fishing boats. It's not so easy to define "being social"...
I know when certain animals are happy because they can express it like dogs or chimpanzees, but couldn't figure out if birds displayed their emotions with one another, it seems like all their behavior is based off survival tactics of one or another. Then i hear stories of birds that land on a people yards consistently or even their shoulders or heads, or that dance to attract a mate. I just began wondering about their social nature when I noticed the pigeons and the sparrows. But thank you for all the great answers to everyone on this thread.
Cryper is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 31st October 2019, 14:07   #9
nartreb
Speak softly and carry a long lens
 
nartreb's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 1,389
I would argue that all behavior, and all emotion, including the very expressive happiness of humans and dogs, is ultimately based on survival. Dogs being a good example: we humans created dog breeds that express happiness like mad, because that's what we like.

Many species of animals can't afford to be so expressive - they have to be somewhat stealthy to survive. But mostly we humans just don't know how to read the expressions of most other animals. Still, it's not too hard to think of examples where animals behave towards their mates, or their young, in ways that are hard to distinguish from human affection. Many species of parrots, for example, spend more time grooming their mates than would make sense if they were simply looking for ticks or other food.

One way to get a bird to hang around a member of another species is for that other species to be present when the bird hatches. Look up the old films of Konrad Lorenz...

Last edited by nartreb : Thursday 31st October 2019 at 14:10.
nartreb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 3rd November 2019, 15:23   #10
Barred Wobbler
Registered User
 
Barred Wobbler's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: North of the wall, south of the border
Posts: 4,739
I'd think that a bird's life consists of a range of emotions ranging at one end from what we would consider as severe anxiety (on a good day) to outright terror at the other end if it's to survive.
Barred Wobbler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 7th December 2019, 19:50   #11
ChiGuy
To-Be Ornithologist
 
ChiGuy's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: California
Posts: 12
I agree with Barred Wobbler. A birds life consists of a range of emotions.
ChiGuy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 18th December 2019, 20:20   #12
birdingnut
Registered User

 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Posts: 39
I don't know about interspecies friends, but a number of local critter and bird species seem to think I'm one of them. The local Cooper's hawk pair, then their chicks, began enthusiastically greeting me on sight, when I went outside..even when I was walking down a housing division street to reach the desert arroyo where I hike.

The 3-foot wingspan females, and the slightly smaller males fly straight at my head, do a half-roll, blasting compressed air across my face, then peel off and fly straight away from me. Or, often, landing next to me, or nearby.

The same for the local Chinhaha raven pair which tried to feed me, to teach me to fly alongside their chicks, would fly to my house with the chicks after they fledged, all circling my head, talking to me in croaks and gurgles, much of which I learned to translate.

All the male greater roadrunners in the arroyo valley greet me as I pass, doing bill clatters and often walking beside me to the edge of their territories. They'd dance, swinging and fanning their tails, bring me grasshoppers and whiptail lizards, and the male that lives near me would come to my sliding glass door to check on me if I was late to go hiking (I'm a recovering cancer patient who mostly stays in my bedroom when not out hiking).
birdingnut is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 10th January 2020, 06:35   #13
tom baxter
Registered User

 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: cape may NJ
Posts: 1,187
This is a fascinating topic.

I have observed the following behaviors in waterfowl and shorebirds - most species have a tendency to form mixed flocks in feeding situations as well as in migratory and roosting situations. However, there are species such as American Woodcock that do not seem to socially interact with other bird species (although this species is difficult to observe frequently and for long duration), but they certainly are unlikely to intermingle with any other species of shorebird/wader. You also see large rookeries of herons and ibis, as well as mixed nesting site selection of shorebirds/waders up on the northern tundra, as well as mixed gull and tern colonies on marshlands. Each species in the mix provides SOMETHING of service to the other species involved in the congregation. Sometimes it is much more clear than others what the delegation of roles among species are. For example, back home in New Jersey out on the saltmarshes during the breeding season you have mixed nesting colonies of Laughing gulls, Forster's Terns and Common Terns. At my local patch in the far southern part of New Jersey in Cape May Co, Common Terns are the more abundant nesting species as compared to Forster's Tern, which is the opposite of most of the New Jersey marshland habitats. Within these mixed colonies, the Common Terns nest around the perimeter of Laughing Gull colonies pretty much exclusively. The Terns are very aggressive, more so than the Forster's Terns. The Laughing Gulls seem to be the 'stronghold' of their city whereas the Terns are sort of the defenders of the castle wall. Upon deterring an intruder, the terns will venture out away from the nests to ward off intruders before they get close, but in the event that a predator were to approach closely, the larger and more powerful laughing gulls are prepared to defend as well. The combination of these deterrents is far more effective than one method without the other for pretty intuitive reasons. This is certainly a very prevalent intra species social gathering. You will see terns and gulls interacting directly, often squabbling with one another, and Laughing Gulls will even very rarely eat unattended Common Tern chicks. I wouldn't really say that they get along, but they leave each other be for the most part, presumably unless territory boundaries are tested, which happens pretty regularly being how close they are packed together.

A few years ago, we even had a very strange occurrence of a beach nesting species, Royal Tern, nesting and laying an egg amongst a mixed Common Tern x Laughing Gull colony. To my knowledge this is possibly undocumented and at best extremely rarely observed. Common Terns will mostly nest on the beaches of New Jersey and NOT in the marshes, which creates an unusual opportunity for study in the southern part of Cape May county, and gets even more interesting with the rare introduction of a Royal Tern into the marshland colonies. This is perhaps one of the only places where this even could happen, where a Royal Tern would nest in a mixed Laughing Gull colony, I am really not sure what the breeding status and distribution of Common Terns is like elsewhere to the south of Cape May. Cape May is about as far north as Royal Tern has been recorded breeding to my knowledge. Make no mistake, the Laughing Gull is the king species of the colony. Like I said, the stronghold, they get the highest ground, or the most protected interior sections of the colony as compared to the terns.

There was also a case where I observed a family group of banded Red Knots on the beach in Brigantine, NJ. This family group had been banded together on the same date 6 years prior to my resighting of their leg bands. In total there were approximately 10 birds in a flock together. Of those 10 birds, 3 were banded 6 years prior together on the same date at the same location, indicating that they had formed a long-term migratory travel family group.

Furthermore, it has become apparent to me through observational experience that the best strategy that I have employed to find a migrant Golden-winged Warbler or a hybrid is to find a Blue-winged Warbler and just keep diligently looking around its vicinity. Likewise, to find a hybrid backcross, if you find a single Golden-winged or Blue-winged migrant be diligent and keep searching the vicinity closely, and the inverse is true as well in the aiding of finding a hybrid backcross. These birds also seem as if they are extremely likely to travel in migratory family flock.

Last edited by tom baxter : Friday 10th January 2020 at 06:41.
tom baxter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Social Calls jjones Bats 0 Friday 9th August 2019 09:56
Birds bullying birds of the same species. ChrisKten Birds & Birding 16 Sunday 14th February 2010 13:18
The Good Bird Guide: A Species-by-Species Guide to Finding Europe's Best Birds Chabi Books, Magazines, Publications, Video & DVD 2 Sunday 19th June 2005 17:31
Social Flycatcher Chris in France Bird Identification Q&A 4 Sunday 17th April 2005 18:25
Social Flycatcher Steve Your Favourite Pictures From The Birdforum Gallery 0 Monday 7th June 2004 20:23



Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.26319194 seconds with 27 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 04:12.