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Do Parents Adjust Predator Warning Calls to the Age of Nestlings: Expriments on Parus minor?
Ha, J. M., Yang, E. J., Lee, K. S., Lee, S. I., Jablonski, P. G.
The Oriental tits Parus minor is known for their specialized ‘snake call’ to make their nestlings jump out from the nest box when the snake is approaching (Suzuki 2011). Hence, the function of “snake call” is to induce jumping out of the nest because staying in the nest makes nestlings vulnerable to snake predation. But, when nestlings are too small to be able to escape (1-10 days old), this function of “snake call” cannot be realized. Do the parents use the call at all , or in a different manner, when nestlings are young? We tested this idea by presenting live Ratsnake Elaphe dione to breeding pairs at their nest boxes. We found no statistically significant support for the idea that the parents adjust the use of their alarms calls to the nestling’s age.