Sunday, 16 December 2012

Instinct or learning - nature or nurture?

I have been studying wild buzzards for a couple of years now. They are interesting animals with a definite hierarchical social structure. Basically, the dominant buzzard rules the roost. He is prepared to share his territory with his mating partner as well as the young yearlings, but once they’ve reached a certain level of maturity they are chased away from the parents home territory with threats of violence should they ever return.

I have always wondered if they are born as natural hunters or is hunting something they are taught by their parents, now I know the answer.

The video above that I filmed today clearly shows the dominant buzzard teaching this years chicks, who were watching from the opposite branch, how to swoop from a perch and use their talons to seize an object on the ground. If this type of thing interests you, it is worth watching the slowed down footage starting at 1.27.

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