|(Notice the difference in wing chord and height).|
Last week, we banded a brood of plover chicks on the Niobrara River. One of the chicks was much smaller than the others. At one point in the banding box, we caught one of the bigger siblings with his wing around his baby brother.
The runt of the litter is growing but can't seem to catch up to his siblings. When we recaptured them a few days later, the same bigger chick (we can identify individuals by their bands) was caught with his wings around his brothers again.
|The runt doesn't seem to mind his brother's arm around him, but the other larger chick does not seem interested in the group hug.|
Of course we know that these chicks aren't actually hugging or even trying to protect each other, but how can you resist the urge to anthropomorphize them when they are being so adorable??