We study Jackdaw life histories experimentally, investigating effects of variation in brood or clutch size on both parents and offspring. Parents and offspring fare less well when broods are enlarged compared to families where broods are reduced. Thus, parents rearing enlarged broods show faster senescence, while nestlings in enlarged broods grow less well. We study the long-term life-history consequences of the manipulation for both parent and offspring, and are in particular interested in the underlying physiological and molecular mechanisms. With respect to the latter we focus on the role of telomeres. A brief explanation of this part of the research program is presented in the video below.
Nest boxes are of particular importance to Jackdaws, because they depend on these for breeding. To learn more about what Jackdaws do to ensure that they have a box to breed in we study timing and frequency of nest box visits using an automatic recording device.