Adoption in birds (really!)

Sometimes the titles of scientific papers are so surprising that they seem to transform into news headlines in my head:

Adoption of chicks by the Pied Avocet – Adoption of fledglings by Black and Red Kites – Caspian Terns fledge a Ring-billed Gull chick – Adoption of young Common Buzzards by White-tailed Sea Eagles

How can this be true? Raising chicks is hard; it takes energy and time and risk. Why would any bird make those sacrifices for an unrelated chick?

Okay, I would absolutely adopt this guy. Pied Avocet chick. Photo by Keith Marshall

Okay, I would absolutely adopt this guy.
Pied Avocet chick. Photo by Keith Marshall

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