Better together

Many dinosaur footprints were found at this site. What do you think they were doing together? We can look at bird behaviour to get some clues.

A big flock of gulls and royal terns gather on the beach.

Ildiko: Birds do many, many things in large groups. They gather when there’s a lot of food in one particular area, and there’ll be a lot of individuals of one species, plus multiple species.

Swans and geese swim together in the water. Gulls sleep together standing in shallow water.

Ildiko: They also like to sleep together in large groups. This is to avoid predation. And the ones on the outside of the group act as sentinels, yelling if they perceive an intruder.

Crows roost in a tree. A large flock of birds flies over a lake.

Ildiko: And birds, often when they’re nesting, they like a particular area that they find very safe or has lots of nesting possibilities. And again, they’re in very large groups.

Two American coots build a nest. Many albatrosses nest together in an open field.

Ildiko: My name is Ildiko Szabo. I’m the collections curator of the Cowan Tetrapod Collection here at the UBC Beaty Biodiversity Museum.

A woman with grey chest-length hair and glasses looks at the camera.