#GivingAHoot: So many mouths to feed

Look at these fluffy hungry mouths to feed.

Most of the octuplet moms out there will already know the answer to this, so, if you have eight children you can stop reading right now (that is if you had the time to start reading in the first place).

For the rest of us, here is the riddle – you have eight hungry children, who do you feed first? The answer is actually quite simple – the one who screams the loudest.

Barn owls (Tyto alba) are known to have as many as 15 owlets during times of high rodent populations. That’s 15 hungry chicks waiting for a rodent takeout from mom or dad. When their parents arrive with food, they only bring one rat at a time.

Who do they offer it to among the hissing and solicitous brood? Yip, you guessed it, the one who shouts the loudest. What is interesting about the owlets as opposed to their eight hungry human counterparts, is that barn owlets will actually listen to the shouts from their siblings and work out for themselves who is hungriest and shouting the loudest and stop shouting if its not them.

It is in this way that siblings negotiate vocally over who should have priority over the next rodent delivery. This social food interaction among hungry owlets results in a non-aggressive way to share food. Again, unlike their human sibling counterparts.

 

Also check out:

#GivingAHoot: ‘Can an owl really turn its head 360 degrees?’

  AUTHOR
EcoSolutions

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