Amount of food supplied to nestlings by their parents is considered to affect the development of nestling physiological condition. In this study we supplied parental Great Tits Parus major with extra food, larvae of Tenebrio molitor, put into feeders close to nest-boxes, assuming that this should facilitate parental care and, as a consequence, nestling nutrition. The following nestling characteristics measured 13 days after hatching were analysed: body mass, haematocrit, blood concentrations of haemoglobin, glucose and triglycerides, heterophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (H/L), and patagium swelling after PHA injection. Nestlings from extra food broods were significantly heavier than control ones. They also had lower H/L, which indicated lower stress. No other variable was significantly affected by the experiment. Possibly, the rainy weather and non-restrictive natural trophic conditions during the experiment caused weakening of the net benefits from extra food.
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Vol. 46 • No. 2