Author Topic: The Rise of Black Robins Laying Rim Eggs  (Read 428 times)

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Offline DCPatriot

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The Rise of Black Robins Laying Rim Eggs
« on: January 18, 2014, 02:57:36 PM »
The Rise of Black Robins Laying Rim Eggs

How Human Conservation Efforts Can Cause Unforeseen Effects

By Simone Scully
Published: 01/17/2014




The black robins on Chatham Islands were in trouble. By 1980 only five birds remained, including a single breeding pair. Introduced rats and cats had devoured the birds nearly to the point of extinction. Given the dire circumstances, researchers felt they had no choice but to step in and encourage the survivors to get busy.

Black robins are known to re-lay if a clutch is lost, so they removed the eggs laid by the last fertile female, “Old Blue,” from her nest, and placed them with birds of a related bird species to be hatched and raised. It worked; Old Blue quickly laid another clutch.

The meddling didn’t end there, though: Scientists also moved black robin eggs that were laid on the edges of nests, which usually don’t hatch, into the middle of the nest to increase their chances of survival.

But the scientists’ well-intentioned intervention nearly backfired. Because they were moving the eggs to the center of the nest, the bad egg-laying trait was passed on to future generations. By 1989, 50 percent of all black robins were laying “rim eggs,” even though the species had begun to recover.


The black robin’s situation demonstrates how conservation interventions can have unforeseen, and potentially dangerous effects on the recovery of a species, researchers from Australia and New Zealand write in the latest issue of PLoS One. It’s a dilemma that conservationists face: Species have to recover quickly to avoid extinction, yet human efforts to help might, as the authors write, “unintentionally relax selection by allowing the ‘survival of the not-so-fit’.”


more at:  http://mag.audubon.org/articles/birds/rise-black-robins-laying-rim-eggs


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"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"Journalism is about covering the news.  With a pillow.  Until it stops moving."    - Iowahawk

"You can lead a liberal to the Truth, but you can't make them Think" - damned if I know

Offline flowers

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Re: The Rise of Black Robins Laying Rim Eggs
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 03:16:35 PM »
Wow very interesting


Offline DCPatriot

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Re: The Rise of Black Robins Laying Rim Eggs
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2014, 08:01:05 PM »
Wow very interesting

Yes, it is.

I was thinking that the program "Big Cats" on the Animal Planet channel now makes a bit more sense to me....when they show a lioness without a pride and 3 little cubs that she's hiding from rogue males...and other predators.  I thought...why not just shoot a water buffalo or widlebeast and help them out?

Recalled when a little cub could not get up a water hole bank...it only needed a 'boost' and the camera people just let nature take its course without intervention.

Or feeding a pair of cheetahs that are progressively unsuccessful in bringing down prey to feed...they will not assist.

"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"Journalism is about covering the news.  With a pillow.  Until it stops moving."    - Iowahawk

"You can lead a liberal to the Truth, but you can't make them Think" - damned if I know


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