Sometimes one is truly surprised by data. Once we started to dig into to fairly extensive and long (collected since 1958) pedigree of the Kaikoura population of Red-billed gulls, we were geared to study inbreeding depression. Jaws were dropping when not a single inbreeding event was recovered from the massive data. The dreams about uncovering the penalties of incest came to a abrupt halt and poking the idea of inbreeding avoidance was swiftly brought forth to explain the lack of forbidden love. Getting the story published turned out to take few years longer than the hatching of the study, but finally, the story has appeared in the pages of Behavioural Ecology.
Alho JS et al. (2012) No evidence for inbreeding avoidance through active mate choice in red-billed gulls. Behavioural Ecology, in press.