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Acorn Woodpecker Gangfights: A new paper (1 Viewer)

AFP has a nice write up on a new paper in Current Biology by a group led by Sahas Barve, a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

The paper deals with the social networks of Acorn Woodpeckers reassigning territorial rights through gang fights after a bird passed away.

The team had hypothesized that woodpeckers would fight hardest for territories closest to their current home, but found that in reality, more complex social forces were at play.

"These birds often wait for years, and when there's the right time and they have the right coalition size, they'll go and give it their all to win a really good territory," said Barve.

The radio tag data showed that some birds returned for several days to engage in up to 10 hours of hostile spread-wing displays, incessant calling, and intense fighting that was at times fatal.

And just like humans, the fights attract spectators.

The sophisticated social behavior was also seen in the fact that the battles attracted large crowds, some traveling as far as three kilometers to see the action.

...

The birds came for up to an hour a day to watch the fights, despite many already having granaries of their own.
 

etudiant

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Presumably that means storage trees are a limiting factor for these birds.
I wonder whether there would value in providing artificial snags for them to use?
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Presumably that means storage trees are a limiting factor for these birds.
I wonder whether there would value in providing artificial snags for them to use?
Suspect availability of acorns is more significant - they'll happily use utility poles for stores, and there's no shortage of them :eek!:
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
Suspect availability of acorns is more significant - they'll happily use utility poles for stores, and there's no shortage of them :eek!:

Thank you, your idea is very much more plausible. That means the trees are just the convenient venue for the larger turf fight.
 

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