Data from: Innovative consumers: ecological, behavioral and physiological predictors of responses to novel food
Prasher, Sanjay et al. (2019), Data from: Innovative consumers: ecological, behavioral and physiological predictors of responses to novel food, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pd8ms7g
Consumer innovation, i.e. the acquisition and consumption of novel food types, has received little attention despite its predominance among animal innovations, and its potential implications for the ecology and evolution of species in a changing world. Results of the few studies that have investigated individual responses to novel foods suggest that various ecological, behavioral, and physiological variables may impact individual propensity for consumer innovation, but further work is needed to clarify these relationships. We investigated if urbanization, social rank, exploratory personality, and baseline levels of corticosterone predict food neophobia and consumer innovation responses of wild-caught black-capped chickadees (N=170) from 14 sites along an urbanization gradient. Our analyses do not support a link between food neophobia or consumer innovation and urbanization, dominance or exploratory personality. However, birds with higher levels of baseline corticosterone were quicker to contact novel food types, and more likely to consume novel foods than individuals with lower levels of the hormone. This finding suggests that physiological states that promote foraging behavior might drive individual responses to novel food. Additionally, we found that chickadees tested later in autumn were less neophobic than those tested earlier in the season, perhaps reflecting seasonal changes in food availability. Together, the ability of baseline corticosterone and date of capture to predict responses to novel food suggest that necessity may drive consumer innovation in chickadees.