Open Access Senior Honors Thesis
Foraging success can limit fitness if resources are unpredictable and strongly favor those that learn socially. Unpredictability can be a stressor and trigger elevations of stress hormones, that coordinate whole body responses to challenging environmental conditions. We explored the effects of unpredictable food on behavior, physiology, and receptiveness to social information using an observer/demonstrator paradigm in red crossbills, a highly social species that are adapted to cope with high degrees of resource unpredictability. Unpredictable food limited food intake (X21 = 10, p = 0.0012), caused a decline in body condition (X21 = 5.9, p = 0.015), and triggered an increase in activity ( pX21 = 2.91, p = 0.09), which suggests recalling learned behaviors is more important to the foraging success of an irruptive crossbills than learning new behaviors.
Wurtz, Megan Catharine, "The Effects of Unpredictable Food on Corticosterone and Social Learning in Red Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra)" (2017). Senior Honors Theses & Projects. 563.