Study: Great tits prefer nesting near birds with similar personalities

OXFORD, England — Birds choose like-minded nest neighbors in the woods very similarly to how humans would go about choosing a compatible personality type for a roommate, a new study on wild great tits finds.

Researchers at Oxford University analyzed the social network structure of wild great tits (Parus major) over six breeding seasons and discovered that the males — but not the females — were very selective in their choices for next neighbors. The new study finds that male great tits are quite selective when it comes to choosing birds to surround themselves with near their nests.

Wild great tit perched on a branch
A new study finds that wild great tits prefer nesting near other birds that have similar personalities.

“We found that males, but not females, were picky about personalities, with males opting for like-minded neighbors,” says study co-author and doctoral student Katerina Johnson of Oxford in a university news release. “Our results emphasize that social interactions may play a key role in animal decisions.”

Male great tits chose to associate with similarly-behaved males in what the researchers say is a move to defend their territories when aggression among the birds is at its peak during breeding season. Looking for opportunities to mate with female great tits, less aggressive males look to avoid nesting next to bolder and more aggressive males. On the other hand, female birds were more likely to choose their nesting location based on the attractive qualities of the male birds in the area.

“Just like students choosing their flatmates,” Johnson adds, “birds may pay more attention to who they share their living space with than simply location. Animal personalities can influence their social organization and humans are likewise known to form social networks based on shared attributes including personality.”

The researchers tested the personality traits of great tits by introducing a novel environment and analyzing how the birds respond. This is similar to humans’ individual behavior differences that remain consistent over long periods of time and throughout various situations. The bolder great tits were more likely to actively explore their new surroundings while the shier birds were more inhibited.

“This novel research finding may also help explain the evolution of personality and why individuals in a population differ in their behavior,” says Johnson. “Rather than one particular personality type being favored by natural selection as ‘the best,’ different behavioral strategies may be equally good depending on who you choose to be your friends and neighbors.”

The researchers suggest that by nesting closer to birds with similar personality traits, the birds’ chances for survival increase. Having aggressive neighbors could result in more fights between the males, but they may be able to come together to defend their nesting area from intruders.

This study was published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

Comments

        1. Actually very true.
          My screen name on TB’s SG msg board was ” Hereticus”.
          🙂
          GOOD CALL!

  1. And how soon before “the government” steps in and demands that they integrate WITH NON-LIKE thinking great tits…hmmm?
    It’s working with African slaves SO WELL!

      1. You get something similar to a cross between a wood pecker and a hummingbird. Definitely something to crow about.

  2. I guess (in general) a male bird will try to choose a neighbor who won’t mug him unless he is a mugger himself who likes getting into bar fights. One problem with that study is that a male bird will probably hang around an area where he was raised as a chick and his parents will pop out new brothers every year who most likely have a similar temperament, so the birds will live near by and act the same. It’s a family thing. My guess is you get pockets of birds that are fairly gentle and pockets of birds that are meaner.

    1. ‘Wonderfully paraphrased in a “coming of age” movie, where the central character recounts some lessons and realizations, including “Some people are just BORN with the “assh-le gene”.

  3. Some birds great tits do not associate with include flat-chested warblers, little tits, and robin red breasts.

    1. HarryObrian, the study is seminal because it sheds an unflattering light on the Left’s attempt to coercively impose the “celebration of diversity” on the indigenous white Europeans in their own countries, inviting tens of millions of swarthy, monotonously black-headed, intellectually marginal, aggressive Africans, Asians, and Arabs to invade Europe and colonize it, the same Africans, Asians, and Arabs who are heard boasting that they’re going to drive the indigenous white race to extinction in their own lands, just watch them.

      The races, like birds, have always preferred their own kind. And now we know it’s a law of nature. The harebrained “celebration of diversity” is a violation of that law. And we see the consequences of stuffing different races together in the same society, the havoc that celebration is wreaking in Europe and America today, race relations being worse than ever. Blacks in America physically assault whites at a 3,000% higher rate than whites blacks. Black males in America rape 30,000 white women EVERY YEAR. How many black females are raped by white men every year. Near zero.

      No multi-racial society has ever worked in the history of mankind, authoritarian measures as in Singapore imposed to keep the races from each other’s throats not counting as working.

  4. Did you ever think it was simply because non-aggressive males physically weren’t able to live near aggressive males without being chased off and it was not a conscious decision at all?

  5. Teachable lesson: always best to nest with a set of great tits!

    And they’re the bird brains???

  6. My version of the story includes a advertisement featuring a girl,
    with great tits, lifting weights.

  7. I object to the use of the term “great tits” in the above article and protest in the most emphatic manner.
    Monty Python

  8. Too late, someone said it long ago: Birds of a feather, flock together…..and science cannot disprove it. Same thing with humans too and it’s a damned shame the Fed forces us down each others’ throats in the name of God, the Union, diversity or whatever else they figure is BS enough to convince us that we can all get along. Simple truth is….we can’t, we do not and we never will.

    1. John Irwin, something else that the level-peggers on the Left fail to grasp, past is prologue. If, as you rightly say, the different races have never gotten along, do not now get along, and never will, then we can without risk conjecture that such egregious irrationality as importing millions of swarthy, monotonously black-headed, intellectually marginal Africans, Asians, and Arabs into the indigenous white Europeans’ ancestral lands and then stubbornly attempting to enforce coercive measures to make them get along is driven by an Ulterior Psychological Motive.

      Leftists are demon-possessed liars and lovers of lies. An observation commonly attributed to Einstein is that doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get a different result is a working definition of insanity. Leftists are afflicted with borderline mental illness. The more their level-pegging agenda fails the tighter their grip on it. B. Hussein Obama, that nappy-headed nincompoop, and his female minion H. Rodham Clinton, should have been locked up in an asylum. Instead, they were allowed to run loose wreaking havoc all over the world. We need to sterilize leftists so they can’t multiply and replenish the Earth with their defective kind.

      I’m serious about referring to leftists as inherently defective human beings. Recent research at Nebraska and Texas, Austin informs us that leftists are unable to decipher simple perceptual distinctions, as revealed in their performing poorly on embedded image tests, which tests rightists sail through with colors flying. The difference is inborn, a manifestation of two different inborn cognitive styles that cannot be changed, which explains the frustration of trying to pound facts and logic into leftists’ hard heads. Leftists are congenitally unfit to deal with the facts of human reality. I long ago ceased wasting my time talking to them.

      I conjecture that leftists’ inability to decipher simple perceptual distinctions is related to their being unable to decipher complex moral distinctions, which explains their social agenda manifesting a penchant for blurring them, as between white and black, male and female, rich and poor, producer and parasite, and so on.

      Jefferson first noticed a difference between the inborn psychology of these two types of men that correlated with their political orientation Left and Right. The aforementioned recent research has validated his insight.

  9. Birds of a feather flock together. This has been known for centuries. We tax payers didn’t pay for this study, did we?

  10. Gotta love it.
    How in the heck do these studies get published.
    I’m told feral cats around these birds have related to this researcher that such birds displaying this behavior are the tastier ones.
    And because they are the more PC members of the flock don’t want to offend the other birds and such pacificity makes them easier to catch…
    I’m sure this researcher will soon publish an article how feral cats victimize birds who “just want to get along” and wear a t shirt printed with, “Bird Lives Matter”…

  11. There’s an add in the sidebar for some dating service with a young woman in the thumbnail sporting great tits.

  12. How much did this study cost and my nursery rhyme book from 1700 says, “Birds of a feather, flock together.” Why can’t we learn from the past and save the study money?

    1. That looks like a Crow driving off a hawk – not an internal-species joust. I see that here a lot. And mocking birds drive off the crows and the hawks in some intense dog-fighting combat.

  13. Birds of a feather, flock together. It’s the same in the animal kingdom and in humanity. We all tend to be close to those most like us so look at the people who are near to you and that is what you are like.

  14. It is always amusing to read about these silly studies. Did you EVER hear of one where the investigators completed the study and found that there were no correlations to draw elaborate conclusions from? Null results never get published, that’s why. So, take a guess as to how that consequence affects the outcome of a study like this.

    It turns out that about 75% of these kinds of studies are pure rubbish – attempts to repeat them mostly fail. But the results usually please people, as this one did. And that is all we can ask from science.

  15. I can’t imagine how two great tit lovebirds can manage to get close enough to give each other a peck on the cheek.

  16. How would you feel if your tax payer money was spent on this. Liberals waste your money this way and then flaunt it in your face. Until we get murders and drugs under control I couldn’t give a rats a ss about these birds.

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