Animal Life in Groups (Animal Behavior) by Toney Allman

By Toney Allman

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They may caw at each other, too, when a squabble breaks out over food or sleeping places. Roosts can be noisy places with many quarrels. Dominant individuals usually win by using vocal threats or running at rivals. An angry crow may peck at a rival, but most of the 56 AnimAl life in groupS time no one gets hurt. One crow gives in and moves away, and that stops the fight. Crows are not quarrelsome all the time. Eric Strauss, a biologist at Boston College, says that roosts are “information centers” and “mutual-aid societies” for crows.

Tired birds slip to the rear, where the wings of the birds ahead of them make vortices in the air that make flying easier. Birds at the rear flap their wings less. After a bird is rested, it takes its turn at the head of the flock, and previous leaders slip back and take a rest. Swans and ducks migrate in flocks for the same reason. These birds are more likely to survive a long, tiring migration when they fly as a flock instead of on their own. 58 AnimAl life in groupS A NEED FOR A CHICK each pair of emperor penguin parents is extremely attached to its chick.

The flock claims a feeding territory, which they defend from other chickadees. Chickadees do not share food or preen each other, but they seem to like to be together. As they are foraging, they continually give “tsee tsee” calls to help them stay in contact with the group. Observers believe that the winter foraging flock helps chickadees find and protect enough food sources to survive the winter. migrAting flockS Some birds form flocks for traveling, or migration. Geese fly to and from their winter homes in tight V-shaped formations.

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