Culture

Sibling Rivalry!

By Bernie Bell

Here’s a little bit of nature watching ………….. I watched a sparrow feeding her young in our garden. The baby perched on a strand of fence wire under the bird feeder, and sat there patiently. The Mum went to the feeder – got a bit of peanut, then flew down to the baby – which suddenly sprang to life, fluttering its wings and opening its beak as wiiiiide as possible. Mum popped the bit of nut in, and went back to the feeder, while the baby calmed down and sat patiently again.

Next morning I saw three babies sitting on the top wire of the fence by the feeder. Mum went to the feeder, got a bit of peanut and landed on top of the fence post, only to be ‘mugged’ by all three! I said to Mike, some of those sparrers need to put manners on their children!  He explained that it’s to do with competition – the single baby knew it would get the food. The three babies were competing, and so, mobbed their mother.

I’m from a family of five, and there was an element of competition for the good things, especially at meal times, but if we’d behaved like that, we would have been told that we’d get nothing until we behaved right.  And quite right too!

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