Biol 2600 – Optimal Foraging in Black-Capped Chickadees

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Optimal Foraging in Black-capped ChickadeesINTRODUCTION
Foraging is a type of behaviour in which the organism searches and exploits food resources. Foraging is an important theory in behavioural ecology because it deals with the organism’s fitness  which determines an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce (Pyke et al., 1977). Foraging theory studies the foraging behaviour of organisms in response to the environment where it lives.
Optimal foraging is a foraging behaviour where organisms try to maximize their net energy within the least possible time with minimal risks associated with ground predators and birds of prey (Pyke et al., 1977). The study will focus on foraging behaviour in birds and how factors such ground predators and birds of prey. The exposure to ground predators is greater when closer to ground and the exposure to birds of prey is greater when the habitat is more open.
The aim of this study was to mainly tackle two questions on black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapilla). The first one is to find if exposure to predators have an impact on the food location preferred by the chickadees and the second one on the preference of certain types of seeds by the chickadees compared to the other seeds.
The hypothesis for the first research question is that there is a relation between the risks and the food location that the chickadees prefer. To support this hypothesis, the prediction made was that the food on the hand is safer than the food on the ground so more chickadees will come and eat from the food on hand. The hypothesis for the second research question is that there is a relationship between the numbers of chickadees that come down and the different types of seeds available. And to support this hypothesis, the prediction made was that the chickadees will prefer the seeds with more calories that is the sunflower seeds. The purpose of this study was to test each of the predictions to see if…

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