A difficult start in life is not necessarily a disadvantage.
Biologists have found that the smallest starling chicks learn behavioural strategies that produce fatter adults.
Starlings that struggle to compete for food in the nest grow up to forage more quickly and to put more effort into finding food – to the extent that they prefer to rummage through sand for hidden morsels rather than plumping for freely available food nearby.
A cost of the extra weight, though, is that the birds don’t fly as well as their advantaged peers, which may make them more vulnerable to predators.
Source Animal Behaviour
13 best places to see roosting starlings.
Read more wildlife news in BBC Wildlife Magazine.