Interesting quotes from `The Life of the Robin' by David Lack
`Robin' - European `robin redbreast' - Erithacus rubecula
"It has been recorded that when two cock-robins were captured and placed in a cage they repeatedly fought each other, but later one of them broke its leg, after which the other fed it regularly."
BREHM, A.E. (1874) "Bird Life" trans. H.M. Labouchere and W Jesse.p.158
"More remarkable instances are those of an adult frigate bird and an adult brown booby, each possessing only one wing and at least several years old, which were found alive at breeding colonies of these sea-birds"
Lack, D (1941)
"Similarly an old blind white pelican has been found alive at a breeding colony"
H. Stansbury (1852) "Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah" p.193
"In none of these cases could the bird have obtained food for itself, hence it must have been fed for years by other members of the colony" - David Lack
"a pair of wild robins which had lost their own young helped to feed a brood of nestling song-thrushes"
Butler A G (1874) Zool., 2, 9: 4033-4
"a third pair [of robins] repeatedly fed a newly fledged blackbird."
Paterson, J. (1909) "Ann. Scot. Nat. Hist.", 1908. p. 198
"Another pair of robins fed a fledgling cuckoo raised in the first place by meadow pipits"
Corbin, G. B. (1875) Zool., 2, 10:4695-6
"in yet another case a pair [of robins] adopted two fledgling wrens"
"One of the best ornithological stories I ever heard, I drink success to you, and good luck in your investigations . . . If it were a fact that this feeding of strangers was a universal law of nature, it would unravel many enigmas" - Goethe
Eckermann, J. P. (1836) "Gespräche mit Goethe" trans J. Oxenford. Everyman edition 1930 p. 243
1) These facts tend to agree with what is already known from "Prisoner's Dilemma" experiments, where differing species will help and feed each other if and when they are harshly confined, even when given the opportunity to betray each other.
I.e. even when their human jailors tempt one to steal from the other
See violence, genes1, altorig
2) Recent work is changing our view of avian consciousness -
"Parrots 'as intelligent' as young children"
"Reasoning at every step he treads,
man yet mistakes his way;
While meaner things whom instinct leads
are rarely known to stray"
William Cowper 1731-1800
one of the many apt quotes in
`The Life of the Robin' by David Lack
1976, HF & G Witherby Ltd, London
As we can see, both birds and mammals came from early pre-reptilian ancestors.
Interestingly, from all above and from similar outcomes among other animals, we can also see that more co-operative, social birds have survived and most have prospered, while most large predatory types are now extinct.
Yet extinctions shouldn't surprise us:- 99.99% of all Earth's species are already dead, having become extinct at various times, millions of years in our past.
Essentially, that's one of the ways how evolution operates.
"Is the only challenge in the world to be greed and viciousness?
Is the only satisfying power the power of the ascent over men, the only dream, ambition?
And must the alternative to greed, evil, ambition - be only sluggishness?"