Watching what were apparently devoted Coot parents this morning at Stoke St Michael attentively taking care of their 7 very new offspring things suddenly turned for the worse. One parent, after spending time feeding 3 of the brood, attacked one of the three that it had been feeding and caring for. The Adult was then joined in the savagery by the other Parent and between them they quickly despatched and killed the innocent youngster.
The Moonshill Quarry Pond is a very large pond with plenty of food and no other Coots breeding on the Pond so I am at a loss to think of any reason why the Parents would destroy the life of one of their own. I thought that reproduction and passing on of the Genes was the most important thing for any species. Does anyone have any suggestions why this act could have taken place? I did capture this in a succession of photos but have decided not to tweet them.
All coots do it till they have only one young (typically) - why? Beats me, I've heard explanations but they've all sounded like the things that swing between your legs
Really? Not a subject that I have knowledge of but BTO data seems to disagree.
quotes 5-7 eggs and 0.38 juvenile survival, which I take to mean a 0.38 probability of any one juvenile surviving its first year. Hatching percentage not given but if 4 eggs hatch and 3 juveniles were killed survival would be 0.25 even without any other mortality. Am I missing something? One for the boffins, perhaps!
well i wrote a full explanation etc and the site considered it spam so balls to that, i aint doing it again
John, Mike & Pete,
There is a fair bit of discussion about this on the net – I really had no idea about it, however, there is a bit of video from David Attenborough, called ‘The Problems of Parenthood,’ which explains and shows this coot behaviour perfectly?
Pete - I think survival is usually expressed as young/ pair, not the proportion of young from a brood that survive. Which would equate back to the 1 surviving young per brood. This wasn't something I was aware of and it does sound bizarre.