CORSICA: Divorce rates up for blue tits birds in the French island…blame it on Paris Hilton!

CORSICA: Corse Matin newspaper reported that Paris Hilton was detained in Corsica over the weekend on suspicion of having a small gram of marijuana in her purse. The heiress was traveling by private jet with members of a Malaysian government contingency on route to Sardinia, Italy, when the stash was discovered at the Figari Airport in corsica by drug sniffing dogs. Got me to thinking about Corsica in the context of divorce and I learned, from my researching that there are these birds in Corsica called the “blue tits” (I kid you not) that have an increasing divorce rate. The reason for this increase has not yet been ascertained but there are some theories as to why that might be. I found a couple of abstracts from folks who’ve been studying this stuff (ornithologists):

We investigate which hypothesis, the “better mate hypothesis” or the “better territory hypothesis” best explains the unusually high divorce rate (59%) in a population of blue tits (Parus caeruleus) living in a sclerophyllous habitat characterised by severe environmental constraints (trophic, parasitic, climatic) on the island of Corsica, France. By Jacques Blondel, Phillip Perret, M.J. Galan

Here’s more on blue tits species divorcing from Alain Jacot:

Divorce between breeding seasons, i.e. mate change while the old breeding partner is still alive, has been well-studied in several bird species. It can be viewed either as the result of reproductive decisions of individuals to maximize their own fitness or as the outcome of intra-sexual competition for mating opportunities. In contrast, divorce within a breeding season—also referred to as rapid mate switching—has received much less attention. Within-season divorce may occur after sudden changes in environmental conditions, such as those causing the disappearance or devaluation of nesting sites or territories, or when better breeding partners become available. Within-season divorce can be initiated by a member of the pair, or it can be the result of a take-over by an unpaired individual that competes for access to the resource. During a field experiment investigating the effects of limiting nesting sites on reproductive behaviour in Blue Tits, we recorded several cases of within-season divorce. The rate of divorce was not related to the experimental nest-site limitation, and pairs that changed their partner suffered reduced reproductive success compared to faithful pairs. Although there were no differences in the timing of breeding, clutch size or hatching success, pairs with a new partner also suffered a reduced fledging success, which was partly explained by complete brood failures. This study highlights that the pair bond prior to egg laying can be unstable when conditions force individuals to compete for a new partner or nest site and indicates the importance of the correct timing of divorce within the breeding cycle.

So, clearly, none of this is Paris Hilton’s fault. So stop blaming the girl for everything!
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