Your data on MRCVSonline
The nature of the services provided by Vision Media means that we might obtain certain information about you.
Please read our Data Protection and Privacy Policy for details.

In addition, (with your consent) some parts of our website may store a 'cookie' in your browser for the purposes of
functionality or performance monitoring.
Click here to manage your settings.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Jackdaws will ditch friends to gain food, study finds
The jackdaws ditched 'friends' for food, but always stuck with family.
They switch friends for food, but stick with family.

A study has found that jackdaws will ditch their old friends, if it helps them get food as a reward.

The research, conducted by the University of Exeter and the University of Bristol, investigated the wild jackdaws’ response to a task in which access to mealworms depended on who visited the feeder.

The study, led by Dr Michael Kings and Dr Josh Arbon, assigned the birds two groups, A or B, and programmed two tag-detecting feeders so that they would only provide mealworms when individuals of the same group visited the feeder.

The jackdaws soon discovered that sticking with members of their own group would get them better food, and therefore ditched their old ‘friends’ from the other group.

However, they always stuck with their offspring, siblings and mating partners, no matter what the outcome.

The investigation, supervised by Professor Alex Thornton, forms part of the Cornish Jackdaw Project and offers new insight into how jackdaws approach individual decision-making and social relationships.

The results suggest that wild jackdaws will favour friendships with ‘compatible’ group members, which offer the best return from foraging. However, change in social structure was limited as they also preserved pre-existing relationships.

Dr Kings, from the University of Exeter, said: “These results have important implications for our understanding of the evolution of intelligence as they show that being able to track and remember information about social partners can bring benefits.”

Dr Arbon, from University of Bristol, added: “Our findings also help us to understand how societies emerge from individual decisions. The balance between strategically playing the field for short-term benefits and investing in valuable long-term partners ultimately shapes the structure of animal societies, including our own.”

The research team also included the University of Konstanz, and was funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

The full study can be found in the journal Nature Communications.

Image © Shutterstock

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

RCVS Knowledge appoints Veterinary Evidence editor-in-chief

News Story 1
 RCVS Knowledge has welcomed Professor Peter Cockcroft as editor-in-chief for Veterinary Evidence.

A world-renowned expert in evidence-based veterinary medicine, Prof Cockcroft will lead the strategic development and editorial quality of the open-access journal. He was previously in the role from 2017-2020.

Katie Mantell, CEO of RCVS Knowledge, said: "We are excited about the extensive knowledge of evidence-based veterinary medicine and clinical veterinary research that Peter brings, and we look forward to working with him over this next phase of the journal's development." 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
CVS Group hit by cyber attack

CVS Group, which owns more than 450 veterinary practices in the UK, has been hit by a cyber attack.

In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.