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Gators and herons and coons, oh my!

March 11, 2016

Great_Egrets_St__Aug_Dupe_5-15-50Now this is right up my alley. Great white egrets and similar wading birds who nest in swamps prefer trees over waters that alligators frequent. Those gators make the nests safer against predation by raccoons and possums. But do the gators benefit? Lucas Nell, at the University of Georgia, examined a congregation of gators and found that those living near rookeries were healthier. The gators benefited both from the guano, which helped some of the water critters that gators eat, and from excess chicks that get pushed out of the nest. (Cite.)

Cheers to the grad students who worked on that study. Let’s hope they have as many fingers after as they did before.

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