animal behaviour; Darwinian dynamics; coping behaviour; glaucous-winged gull; preening
In humans, coping behaviour is an action taken to soothe oneself during or after a stressful or threatening situation. Some human behaviours with physiological functions also serve as coping behaviours, for example, comfort sucking in infants and comfort eating in adults. In birds, the behaviour of preening, which has important physiological functions, has been postulated to soothe individuals after stressful situations. We combine two existing modelling approaches – logistic regression and Darwinian dynamics – to explore theoretically how a behaviour with crucial physiological function might evolve into a coping behaviour. We apply the method to preening in colonial seabirds to investigate whether and how preening might be co-opted as a coping behaviour in the presence of predators. We conduct an in-depth study of the environmental correlates of preening in a large gull colony in Washington, USA, and we perform an independent ﬁeld test for comfort preening by computing the change in frequency of preening in gulls that were alerted to a predator, but did not ﬂee.
Journal of Biological Dynamics
Henson, Shandelle M.; Weldon, Lynelle M.; Hayward, James L.; Greene, Daniel; Megna, Libby C.; and Serem, Maureen C., "Coping Behaviour as an Adaptation to Stress: Post-Disturbance Preening in Colonial Seabirds" (2012). Faculty Publications. 1532.