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Life is a continuous learning process. No matter how high you are, there are one or two lessons to learn from the seemingly lower ones.
We humans are classified as higher animals. Yet, if we can pay a little attention to the lower animals, we can learn some valuable life lessons.
Parenting in general and fatherhood in particular is not an easy task.
Meet these world’s best dads in the bird kingdom!
Cassowaries are dagger-clawed, majestic and terrifying avians. The southern cassowary is the earth’s second-heaviest bird.
During breeding season, a female cassowary will breed with several male partners (professional flirting!). After laying her eggs, she abandons them (What a mother!).
The males take over at this point (Interesting!). For the next 50 days or so, each cassowary dad dutifully and resolutely incubates his clutch.
During this period, an expectant father never leaves the nest, not even to eat or drink. In order to cope with this incubation period, the male cassowary even enters a strange state where he doesn’t even need to go to the bathroom until the eggs hatch (serious commitment!).
Once the eggs hatch, dad spends the next nine months raising and defending his chicks (the boss!). The male also teaches his growing birds how to forage so that when they eventually breakup from him, the youngsters can survive on their own.
The whooping crane:
The adult whooping crane is pure white in color with black wingtips. The whooping crane is the tallest bird in North America.
Whooping cranes mate for life (high level faithfulness, till death do us part!) and may live up to 25 years or more in the wild. During breeding, a pair establishes a territory and performs elaborate courtship dances and rituals on the summer nesting grounds.
If mating is successful, the female lays two eggs. Both the female and male take turns incubating eggs (see division of labour) for a period of 29 to 30 days. Although both eggs may hatch, usually only one chick survives the first few months to reach fledging age.
When the chicks hatch, the parents (male and female) jointly raise the chicks and teach them the migration routes until they are old enough to join the sub-adult bachelor flocks.
The Mountain Plover
The Mountain Plover is an enigmatic shorebird which is endemic to North America.
Mountain Plovers have an uncommon mating system known as a rapid multi-clutch where each member of a pair tends its own nest (single parenting).
Both male and female plovers tend individual nests unaided, and therefore have similar incubation and chick rearing responsibilities.
The males are believed to arrive first (trust guys) to the breeding grounds to establish loose territories, and compete for females (serious wooing).
During this period, the male digs scrapes and displays within his territory to court females and, once the pair-bond has been formed, she lays a 3-egg clutch in his territory.
The male then incubates those eggs and tends to the resulting precocial chicks, brooding them at cooler temperatures and defending them from predators.
Eventually, the female lays a separate 3-egg clutch that she tends to
entirely by herself.
Research shows that the males have higher nest success than females.