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News and Observer: For Nuthatches, It’s All in the Family

Mark StanbackThe unusual behavior of brown-headed nuthatches was described in a Raleigh News & Observer article featuring Professor of Biology Mark Stanback and his former student Esther Niemasik '09. The article was prompted by the fact that 10,000 North Carolinians answered Audubon NC's recent call to establish nest boxes for the tiny birds. They're hard to study because they look exactly alike and practice cooperative breeding, with grown birds from one nesting remaining at the nest for at least another year to help feed the next generation. To facilitate her study, Niemasik banded 600 of the birds in nests erected on north Mecklenburg golf courses.

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