Now researchers have deployed miniature video cameras to monitor over 200 grassland bird nests, and they found that fledglings' decision-making process is more complex than anyone guessed. Fledging behavior is about when and why baby birds leave the nest. Rarely is someone watching a nest at just the right moment to see fledging happen.
Researchers from The Auk: Ornithological Advances deployed miniature video cameras to monitor bird nests in Alberta, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and they found that fledglings' decision-making process is more complex than anyone guessed. As they decide when to fledge, the nestlings of grassland birds are balancing two competing demands. On one hand, staying in the nest longer gives them more time to grow and develop before facing the risky outside world. On the other hand, predation risk might increase with time spent in the nest.
Use of video technology to examine nest predation has become widespread, and this paper, published by the American Ornithological Society Publications Office provides a great example of the other interesting aspects of breeding biology that can be examined in such studies.