Zebra Finch Update 4

This week has been a continuation of last week’s progress where I have been reading literature to adjust my protocol as well as going through the data I have. As I mentioned, I have one clutch of 4 zebra finch chicks and I am measuring their weight as well as observing their behavior– such as vocalization, begging, and parent attentiveness– to later compare with what is seen in zebra finches that are given low doses of mercury. This project has environmental implications because many nesting sites have been polluted with contaminants such as mercury. By changing the way they behave, such as begging at a different rate and thus being fed more or less, their weight may fluctuate differently and cause them to fledge earlier or later. This can also lead to higher stress and poorer overall health. As of now, since I will not have a mercury clutch hatch until the fall, I am just focusing on collecting the control data. For my data, I have been watching the nest every day from day 2-15 post-hatch to watch nestling and parent behavior. I am then quantifying how long the mother/father spends in the nest, their respective feeding rates, and if these significantly impact the mass of the chicks.