BEACON TRANSCRIPT – When you thought that Nature couldn’t surprise you anymore, that’s when the real action takes places. This time, it’s about birds, eggs, raccoons and crocs. According to a new study, wading birds tend to use gator to scare off raccoons who might be prowling near their nests.
We’ve seen some weird things out there, in the wild, but this one takes the cake. Do you recall all those cliché high-school movies, where the little guy gets bullied, and then the little guy saves the bully’s life, and later they become the best friend?
Well, Hollywood’s got nothing on an aviary and croc colony from Everglades, Florida. While everyone is keeping away from the croc-infested marshes, it would seem that several species of wading birds seek the refuge of this crocodile sanctuary. Why are the birds doing this?
Because that’s their only bet when it comes to raccoons. Indeed, those furry beasts can be cute and fluffy, but they’re bad news for birds and other small flying animals. The little-masked rascals are primarily drawn towards the nests, where they hope to find something of nutritional value.
Lucas Nell is an ecologist, and for the better part of his MA, he has studies the open relationship between the wading birds and the alligators. Nell said that raccoons could indeed wreak havoc on the birds. He also stated that even if a hand-full of them get loose in a bird colony, all the birds from that area will fly away. Moreover, the raccoons will not stop until they’ve either eaten or destroyed the last egg.
Well, it would seem that the wading birds from Everglades have found ways to discourage any raccoon attack. According to Nell, the birds are in the habit of constructing their nests very near to the croc-infested waters. But don’t think they are safe from the alligators. As a precaution, the birds will build their nest at 4 to 5 feet above the ground to ensure that the crocodiles won’t catch them off-guard.
And however strange it may seem, this relationship between birds and crocs is working. The terrifying alligators keep the raccoons away while the birds provide them with a steady food source. As the ecologist explains, the bird colony situated in Everglades grows at a very fast pace. This means that the birds often lay more eggs than the colony can sustain, a problem which is easily corrected by jettisoning an egg from time to time.
Crocs will eat the dropped eggs and, in exchange they will keep the birds safe from other predators.
In conclusion, the study conducted by Lucas Nell points out a symbiotic relationship between two entirely different species. Wade birds use gators to scare off raccoons, and for their services, they are recompensed with eggs.