From today’s New York Times:
Cooperative breeding, in which an animal assists in caring for offspring that are not its own, is often found in nature. But researchers in Hawaii have uncovered a case that is not so common, involving long-term pairs of unrelated birds of the same sex.
Lindsay C. Young of the University of Hawaii and colleagues studied a colony of Laysan albatrosses on Oahu from 2004 to 2007. These birds are monogamous, and both parents participate in raising a single hatchling.
The researchers conducted genetic tests and monitored the pairs reproductive success. They report in Biology Letters that nearly one-third of the 125 pairs consisted of two unrelated females, and half of these stayed together for the duration of the study.
And on that note: Hooray for same-sex marriage in California! You can’t tell me that it’s unnatural.
Speaking of gay birds, and since I blogged yesterday about children’s books, I should mention And Tango Makes Three, a 2005 picture book written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole. It tells the somewhat-true story of Roy and Silo, two boy penguins in Central Park Zoo who shacked up together and adopted a baby penguin of their own, named Tango. This isn’t a boring “message” book that tries to teach your kids to be tolerant. It’s genuinely fun for kids to read, and you can buy it here.