Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nazca booby birds’ chick abuse parallels human child abuse, Wake Forest University study says

 By Mona Sabalones Gonzalez

The Nazca boobies, which reside in the Galapagos Islands, were found to experience a cycle of birdie abuse not unlike that of humans and children, according to a study by Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Nazca boobies live in colonies on the shores of the Galapagos Islands and usually raise only one birdie at a time. The birdie is often left alone while they parents look for food at sea. As a result, other adult birds often bully the unattended birdies by pecking and biting them, sometimes until they bleed. Incidents of sexual abuse were also recorded. Female adult birds tended to be more aggressive than males.

When the birdies become adults themselves, those that experienced abuse as chicks tend to become abusers themselves, replicating the cycle abusive behavior on other unattended birdies.

The study, which appeared on the October issue of The Auk, which is an ornithology journal, was led by Professor Dave Anderson. He and his team  conducted the experiment over three breeding seasons, and tracked the birds with the use of leg bands for identification.

Why do the birdies grow up to become abusers themselves?

The reason may be physiological, the study speculates, citing a separate study that was published in Hormones and Behavior. The latter study, headed by doctoral student Jacquelyn Grace, noted that after birdie abuse, the avian stress hormone corticosterone rises dramatically.

Extrapolating from the Grace study, the Wake University team speculated that there could be physiological reasons behind why the Nazca boobies that were abused as children become child abusers themselves as adults.

Grace speculated that the findings of her study may help to shed light on the dynamics behind human child abuse and the human cycle of violence as well.

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Dreaming said...

Abuse in birds... wow! That's pretty scary! It does make you wonder if human abuse is chemically induced.. not just a behavior thing!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Very interesting study. And yes,how many times do we read about child abusers having been abused too? AND child abusers were often animal abusers as young children. Hope some good comes out of this bird research.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Wow,, this information is amazing

Blue said...

Just loved seeing your photo's.

But do you remember me ???
Blue, your old blog friend of many blogs ago?
Glad to see you active again & interacting with my old dear friend BJ

ra husky said...

Fascinating study, we too hope something pawsitive comes of it,

RA, Isis & nuknuk

Remington said...

What an interesting post! Thanks for sharing....

Doxie Rod said...

really interesting post! i had no idea that much was going on in the bird mind. really pretty pictures!

Abe Lincoln said...

I think this has more to do with their environment and the crowded conditions they live under than bad behavior.

What do I know? I am not that familiar with those birds though I have been in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and saw the large birds whose wings carry them for hundreds of miles in one continuous glide.

BeadedTail said...

That's an interesting study. We wish abuse and bullying wasn't a part of any bird or any child's life!

An English Shepherd said...

Makes you think!

Sagira said...

Learning so much on Blogville today. Interesting study.