It may sound like a touching concept that birds place love ahead of food though the term has been discouraged by scientists. Regardless, it remains a remarkable trait.
- Researchers conducted their study on great tits, and observed their behavior
- They used tags that allowed mates access to different feeding stations
- Mates chose to spend more time at feeding stations they did not have access to, just to stay close to their partner
- The study implied the complex social behavior that wild animals are capable of
Researchers at Oxford University conducted a study on great tits, a small species of birds, and analyzed their social interactions with others and with partners. They provided each specimen with a tag that allowed them access to a particular feeding station. Mates were separated. Meaning that one feeding station would not open up for both the male and the female.
However, that did not seem to affect their bonding. In fact, it made it stronger. According to the team of researchers, mates who weren’t allowed to eat at the same feeding station actually spent more time with each other. This was compared to great tits who were allowed to eat at the same place.
It appeared that even birds, or wild animals, are able to surpass the most basic needs, such as food, and place their partner first. The subjects actually were more inclined toward spending time around the feeding stations they did not have access to, simply to remain longer with their partner. When it came down to it, they prioritized their mate.
Even more, they were also likely to flock with others that had access to their partner’s feeding station. This could be compared to going out with your partner’s friends, regardless of your personal feelings or relationships with each of them. However, unlike it’s the case for humans, scientists decided to advise against the word ‘love’ for this sacrifice.
According to Josh Firth, lead author of the research, this is due to the fact that great tits require a lot of cooperation to raise their young. The support system is vital to their survival. A single bird would be unable to see its offspring to adulthood. Therefore, showing this amount of support will benefit them in the future.
The study has proven that wild animals, such as birds, can accommodate their behavior for the purpose of better social interactions with those they’re attached to. They place their own needs below their partners, so that the social contract remains strong. It’s still a remarkable display that is unfortunately not always the case even for humans.
Great tits showed an exceptional amount of cooperation, sticking together, and preferring to be together instead of going off by themselves to find food.
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