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Re: Cardinal/Hummer alternative hypothesis
- To: Paul Champlin <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
- Subject: Re: Cardinal/Hummer alternative hypothesis
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 14:51:08 -0400
- Sender: email@example.com
Paul Champlin <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Hi Folks,
reply to email@example.com
Not much going on bird-wise in Aiken County, SC (a solitary sandpiper on the
Savannah River on Sat. w/bank and rough-winged swallows)... So I figured
I'd chime in on this one.
I have often heard of male cardinals attacking anything red in defense of
territories. They are most famous for attacking reflections in mirrors and
windows, but have been known to attack red cars, signposts, mailboxes and
even people wearing red. I have seen red-winged blackbirds do the same and
we have even taken to avoiding the application of red color bands to
red-cockaded woodpeckers due to the potential for that small bit of red
causing disturbance during the breeding season. So here's my...
Alternate hypothesis: The adult male northern cardinal, encountering a
bright red object during the breeding season, attacked (the hummers gorget)
in defense of his territory.
The fact that the bird carried off the hummer may point in another
direction, but the above has pretty good potential.
Along the lines of alternate foraging theory I remember a fish-provisioning
study of belted kingfishers in western Massachusetts. The researcher put out
tubs of minnows in hopes that the kingfishers would have an easier time
getting food for the chicks. Well the kingfishers didnít have a chance.
American robins, red-winged blackbirds and common grackles, perching on the
tubs rim, ate the 50+ fish before half of a day went by. there were only 10
or so fishing birds.
New Ellenton, SC
And it is also possible that an attack on color could become a nascent predatory behavior. Many ritualized behaviors are modified from other more practical behaviors. I see no evolutionary block against going the other way and turning a ritual into a practical behavior.