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Name: Kelly
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Question:
Is there any reason why other birds are more aggressive than others? I would really like to know because I have to do a bird experiment the aks: How does a stuffed animal bird affect the feedings of live birds. I would also like to know what birds fear others.


Replies:
Kelly

Birds compete with each other for food and even prey on each other.

Generally the bigger birds pick on the smaller birds. I've seen doves chase little chickadees from my bird feeder. I have a woodpecker that chases the doves off. Starlings, gackles, and red-wing blackbirds seem to be most successful in chasing other birds away from my bird feeder and then they start fighting among themselves.

I've seen hawks take down doves and the smaller chickadees while in-flight. In the Spring, crows are notorious nest raiders and feed on Eggs and newborn chicks. Blue Jays probably also raid nests.

I said above that bigger birds pick on smaller birds, But I have also seen little birds pick on bigger birds in flight. Generally, the smaller birds are defending their nests.

Cardinals seem to be the most timid bird.

I've even seen birds of the same type fight among each other for food. Vultures will fight with each other over carrion. Eagles and sea gulls will try to steal food from each other.

What you might do for your science project is see if different bird shapes scares other birds off. For example, farmers put scare crows in their cornfields to try to scare the crows off. Airports put up the shapes of hawks and eagles and play their bird calls to scare birds away from the runways. I know of a TARGET store that broadcasts hawk bird song to keep birds from messing on their customers and that seems to work.

Overall I believe you have picked a tough premise for your experiment, because in the bird world, everybody eats everybody else. Their behavior reflects the behavior of possible dinosaur ancestors. Perhaps you could limit your experiment to see which bird shapes work best by first setting up a bird feeder, then make a number of shapes that represent different types of birds, then setting up your shape at the bird feeder for the same amount of time at the same time of day, then record the number (and possibly type)of birds that visit the feeder, then process your data to arrive at conclusions. Of course you would also record the number of bird visitors when no shapes are set up and add that to your database.

You can go to a library or a book store and find "A Field Guide to the Birds" by Roger Tory Peterson. That is an excellent identification guide and it is less than $10.

Online:
This site will provide photos of birds, but you first have to know which bird you want a photo of:

http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/pictlist.html

Here is an excellent site to guide you on how to start birding:

http://www.birding.com/beginning_birding.asp

This site has a lot of links in the left margin

This is another good site:

http://www.audubonpark.com/birds.html

Here is the best site I could find:

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1189

Don't be afraid to ask for help because there is a lot of information available in bookstores libraries and on-line.

Good luck and have fun.

Sincere regards,
Mike Stewart


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