Whenever I’m in for a long trip overseas I make sure I have a snack packed for the plane ride in case they aren’t serving any meals. Some rides can be over 6 hours long and I need a lot more than just a complementary bag of peanuts to hold me over. According to a new study, some migratory birds do the same but for a different reason than what you’d expect.
This research shows that some insectivorous birds have been recorded switching to fruit just before migrating south for the winter. Yet this isn’t for fattening up or storing extra energy for the long journey ahead. It’s to deal with the stress from migration by using the berries’ antioxidants. The study collected 12 different kinds of berries that birds ate on Block Island located near Rhode Island. Looking at the micronutrients and antioxidants of bird food is a new way of studying their diet. Even though the knowledge that some birds switch to fruit isn’t unknown this is one of the first times its been specifically considered in research.
It’s very unusual because of the fact that these birds are adapted to eating insects and look very awkward when they try to swallow a small berry. In addition to this, the behavior isn’t learned since the time when migration occurs is when many of the new birds are 8 to 9 weeks old and all alone. So is all this due to instinct? Researcher David Bonter believes that there is a certain chemical compound that is attracting the birds. This new research method also offers a different way for biochemists to search for useful compounds in nature. Just follow the animals.
Posted by Daniel Solomon
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Traveling Birds Eat Fruit for Stress
Posted by Peter Houlihan at 6:35 PM
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Very interesting, sometimes I wish birds could talk so that we can interview them and know what is going on in their mind. It is such an inteligency thing to switch to fruits as preparation for stress, I believe these antioxidants also helps to boost their immune system.ReplyDelete
Posted by Anna Moreno
This is interesting. You never think of berries or other fruits as the food to take before a long flight. They are full of antioxidants and berries are one of the best foods for our health but I would never think of birds utilizing the berries for the same reason. It is cool how birds would just know to eat berries before they migrate because it is beneficial to them.ReplyDelete
Posted by Amanda Makowski
I feel this is very interesting, and I would like to know a little more on how the scientists came upon this discovery. I wonder if antioxidants can have a similar affect on humans. I also would like to add honey roasted peanuts are awesome. I wonder also what the attraction is to them, why do they go after them, and what gave them the idea to eat them.ReplyDelete
This is an interesting study. I have only been able to partly believe all of the hype about antioxidants being crucial for healthy living. One can find antioxidants in everything these days from drinks and food to body products such as lotion and face wash. If there are other species that have considered using antioxidants for actual health benefits then maybe they really do work!ReplyDelete
Posted by Asia Barnes
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This pattern of eating seems intuitive in retrospect, as well adapted organisms would be expected to have the best diet their surrounding can provide and the organism can acquire. The method of gathering data in this experiment is particularly interesting though. I find the concept of analyzing the nutritious value of the food of these birds, then using that information to explain behavioral patterns of the species very innovative. I would like to know similar what information would come from similar research methods applied to other organisms.ReplyDelete
Posted by Matt Grazewski
It is interesting isn't it. I also want to see this kind of study done more and involving different species as well. Its a fascinating new way to research this kind of thing. Hopefully there will be more research done like this in the coming years.ReplyDelete
Posted by Daniel Solomon
That's pretty interesting that antioxidants are now being researched in Animal Diet. They have been pretty popular with people for quite some time because of the theoretical health benefits you can receive from ingesting them. I don't really know if there has been a study on antioxidants and stress levels in humans but if not that would be pretty cool to see if there was a direct link between the two. Migrating can't be to much fun for birds so if they are choosing to completely manipulate their diet to ingest more antioxidants before such a high stress activity there is definitely something to be learned. Hopefully more research goes into this and we are able to see some direct benefits.ReplyDelete
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