A new study now aims to prove that birds too can be swept off their feet and females usually pick their partners if they find them attractive and stimulating. It is precisely this stimulation that makes birds become committed to one another.
According to a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany, the way birds fall in love is very similar to the way humans do.
The experts looked at the zebra finch, which is a socially monogamous bird. During the trial, they placed the males and females in the same room and started a dating session, in which they left groups composed of 20 females to choose from 20 males.
As soon as the females found their partners, the researchers split them into two groups: the first group of couples were left alone to live their love story and the rest of the couples were broken, as the birds were forced to pair up with other partners.
It was noted that the courtship between the two different types of couples varied up to a large extent. Males and females had very different reactions as well. While males paid as much attention to their new partners as the ones in the original couples did, females showed much more indifference and sometimes avoided copulation.
After that, all the couples were left to mate and breed in aviaries and the scientists evaluated the number of dead chicks, dead embryos and surviving offspring. It was soon revealed that the individuals which were allowed to mate with their partner of choice had 37 percent more surviving chicks that the ones which were forced to get together with another bird.
“Most deaths occurred within the chicks’ first 48 hours, a critical period for parental care during which non-chosen fathers were markedly less diligent in their nest-care duties,” said co-authors of the study Wolfgang Forstmeier and Malika Ihle.
Moreover, the nests of original couples had three times fewer unfertilized eggs than the non-chosen pairs and a much larger number of eggs were lost or buried.
Image Source: brackenbird