Master of Science
Stephan J Schoech
David A Freeman
Matthew J Parris
In birds, altricial young depend upon adults for food and protection during the first few weeks of life. Begging is hypothesized to communicate an honest signal of a nestling's nutritional needs. I investigated two factors that may influence rate and duration of begging: 1) a nestling's corticosterone (CORT) levels, and 2) food availability. I examined the role of CORT in Florida scrub-jay nestlings through manipulation of CORT levels on days 8-11 post-hatch. I studied the role of food availability by indirectly supplementing all nestlings within a brood through their parents. I quantified nestling and adult behaviors using high definition video. CORT-treatment did not influence begging behaviors in nestlings in comparison to control nest mates. However, when the average of all nestlings with a CORT-treated nest was examined, I found an overall elevated begging rate compared to supplemented nestlings. I found minimal support for an effect of supplemental food on nestling and adult behaviors.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Elderbrock, Emily K., "Effects of Corticosterone and Food Supplementation on Begging Behavior in Nestling Florida Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma Coerulescens)" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 600.