Swans sacrifice rest to quarrel

Swans sacrifice rest to quarrel

Swans sacrifice rest to quarrel

Whooper Swans and Whooper Swans along with other species at Caerlaverock. Credit: Paul Rose

Swans give up rest time to fight for the best places to eat, new research shows.

Researchers studied the behavior of dumb and singing swans to see how they used their time and energy.

Look at four key behaviors—aggression, foragingmaintenance (cleaning, cleaning and oiling of springs) and rest – they found a “balance” between aggression and rest, which means that “increased aggression is achieved at the expense of rest.”

The study, by the University of Exeter and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), can help nature reserve managers design habitats that reduce the need for aggression.

“These swans use aggression if there is competition across foraging areas,” says Dr. Paul Rose, from the University of Exeter and WWT. “Our findings show that this requires a balance, and that both species reduce resting time to enable this aggression.

“This was the strongest balance we found, but there was also a balance for both species between foraging and rest. However, there was no obvious balance between certain behaviors, such as aggression and foraging, and aggression and maintenance.”

Swans sacrifice rest to quarrel

Mute swans. Credit: Paul Rose

The swans were observed via a livestreaming webcam at the WWT Caerlaverock Nature Reserve in Scotland. Whooper swans are migrating, and those observed in the study spend their winters at Caerlaverock.

Mute swans live there all year round, and Dr Rose said this means they can be more “flexible” in their behavior because they do not share the whooper swans’ urgent need to store fat before migration.

“By providing enough foraging sites for the birds, we can reduce the need for aggression around desirable eateries, giving them more time to rest,” said Dr. Rose. “This can help ensure that migratory species “do not shoot out” non-migrating arter when they are mixed in the same wintering places.

“Our study also shows how remotely collected data can be used to investigate fundamental issues in behavioral research.”

Swans sacrifice rest to quarrel

Whooper swans. Credit: Paul Rose

Dr. Kevin Wood, from WWT, said: “At WWT, we get a lot of questions from our visitors about the swans ‘aggressiveness. This new study helps us understand how the swans’ behavior changes when they engage in their disputes.”

The magazine, published in the magazine PLOS ETThas the title: “Assessing trade-offs in bird behavior using remotely collected data from a webcam.”


Swans reserve aggression for each other


More information:
To assess trade-offs in bird behavior using remotely collected data from a webcam, PLoS ETT (2022). DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0271257

Quote: Swans sacrifice rest to squabble (2022, July 8) Retrieved July 8, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-07-swans-sacrifice-rest-squabble.html

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