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Animals Pitch In & "Help at the Nest"
November 5, 2009

Birds were the first animals biologists observed “helping at the nest”.  Biologists were surprised to see that some birds who left the nest would come back and help the parent birds feed the newer, baby birds (their brothers and sisters) instead of starting their own families.

Researchers have discovered that several kinds of birds, insects, and mammals have “helpers at the nest.” Why do adult animals help out instead of having their own babies?  Professor John Hoogland, from the University of Maryland, says biologists are trying to figure that out.

Animals that have “helpers at the nest” include Florida scrub jays, acorn woodpeckers, carpenter bees, sugar gliders (the cuties in the photo), prairie dogs, and bushbabies (small monkeys that live in Africa).

Are YOU a “helper at the nest?”  Answer these questions in the comment section below!

  • Do you ever babysit for your siblings?
  • Do you help shop for groceries?
  • What other ways can you pitch in to be a “helper in the nest?”


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