11 Jul Hard working dads of the natural world
A few weeks back was Father’s day. When my daughters wished me with a lovely card they had made, it got me thinking. There are so many hard at work dads in the natural world as well whose efforts go quite unnoticed. They carry on with their paternal duties without expecting any appreciation in return. These highly motivated and dedicated fathers deserve every bit of praise and it was time to hail them too.
Among mammals, the milk producing mammary glands present in the female of the species, become the only source of food for the new born, thus creating a strong dependency on their mothers, at least in the very early stages of development of the offspring. During this time, the fathers are relegated to playing an active supporting role :)
However in birds and many others, both the parents share the job of feeding their young equally, with the fathers owning up the entire responsibility in some species. From the Emperor penguins to the Sea horses, from the Rheas to many arthropod species, there are scores of such great dads in the natural world.
Here are some of the dedicated dads that I have come across. Here’s taking a bow to them…
Ashy-crowned sparrow lark feeds his chick. He was picking up grain by grain and feeding it to the aggressively hungry chick who kept demanding for more.
Hornbill dads indeed have a lot of work to do. Right from the time of nesting and till about the time that his chicks are strong enough to fledge, he has to single handedly go and fetch food for his young ones as well as their mother. Once the mother gains back her strength, she joins him in sharing the responsibility.
Crimson-backed sunbird, one of the smallest of sunbirds, religiously goes through his familial duties by sharing the onus of feeding the chicks with his partner. They alternate between themselves in bringing in the feed.
There are many wonderful dads among amphibians too. Many even carry their tadpoles in their mouths or in their belly pouches till the young are ready to make it on their own.
Night frogs ( of genus Nyctibatrachus ) is another example. After the female lays the eggs ( usually a clutch of them ) and leaves, it is up to the father to guard them and ensure they develop into tadpoles. The males can be seen guarding the eggs, every now and then, announcing their presence to the other frogs around.
Nature never ceases to amaze me. So much to observe, so much to learn. This was a post to celebrate the humungous efforts many of the wonderful creatures go through and the significant contributions of some of the wonderful dads to ensure the survival of their offspring. Hope you enjoyed reading this.