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American BisonA Natural History$
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Dale Lott, Jan van Wagtendonk, and Kevin Shaffer

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520233386

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520233386.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2019

Buffalo Birds

Buffalo Birds

Chapter:
(p.105) Chapter 11 Buffalo Birds
Source:
American Bison
Author(s):

Dale F. Lott

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520233386.003.0011

As their eggs become ready to lay, female buffalo birds scout around for a place to lay them in already feathered nests containing newly laid eggs — always of another species, because buffalo birds don't make nests. The bird people call such birds brood parasites. Buffalo bird nestlings need to eat most of their weight every day. The logistics of depending on beater buffalo for food makes rearing a brood a chancy business. So traveling with the herd and being a brood parasite go together nicely. Somewhere else in all that DNA are instructions for finding bison and using them as beaters.

Keywords:   brood parasites, buffalo bird, buffalo herd, bison beaters

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