BOB HIRSHON (host):
Stress and social networks. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Stressed baby finches grow up to avoid their parents and interact with other birds in the flock, while unstressed chicks stay close, according to new research in Current Biology. Cambridge biologist Neeltje Boogert and her colleagues gave baby zebra finches stress hormones. Later, they could be found networking with unrelated birds.
NEELTJE BOOGERT (Cambridge University):
They were very well connected. They developed many friendships, if you will. You might say that they were actually avoiding their parents as a source of information.
In fact, they learned new information about how to find food exclusively from unrelated adults, while unstressed birds relied on their parents. Boogert suspects that stress in early life indicates to the chicks that their parents are poor role models, and the young birds would be better off getting their information from unrelated adults. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.