Date Approved

2008

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Committee Member

Peter Bednekoff, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Cara Shillington, PhD

Committee Member

Howard Booth, PhD

Abstract

One of the primary goals of songbird rehabilitators is to promote controllable factors that increase survivorship in orphaned songbirds upon to release. As caching serves an important function in corvid life, this study sought to determine if this behavior would develop with or without outside input. Eight orphaned blue jays (consisting of both hatchlings and nestlings) were brought into the care of the Bird Center of Washtenaw County, Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Birds were videotaped and observed for the development of caching behavior, cache item and cache site sharing, and cache defense tactics. Caching behavior and cache defense tactics all developed without parental or caretaker input, regardless of age at which birds were received. Cache site sharing and theft tolerance occurred with all cohorts but at varying frequency. This study recommends that blue jay release criteria include the development of food hoarding behavior.

Included in

Biology Commons

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