- Bird populations -- United States,
- Avian biology
Understanding why brood parasites lay eggs in the nests of hosts that reject eggs is hampered by insuf-ficient data on the frequency with which parasites lay in rejecter nests, and by ignorance of which in-dividuals practice this seemingly inappropriate be-havior. Parasitism rates of rejecters can be deter-mined only when host nests are observed during egg laying because most parasite eggs are rejected rapidly (e.g. Scott 1977). Even then, however, a certain per-centage of parasitized nests may go undetected. De-termining the selective value of host defense mech-anisms also depends on knowledge of the frequency of parasitism, and the amount of reproductive loss caused by parasitism when it occurs (Rothstein 1976a).