ethology

Journal Club: Polly gets his own cracker: clever cockatoo manufactures, uses tools | video |

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: Polly gets his own cracker: clever cockatoo manufactures, uses tools | video | by Grrlscientist 21 November 2012

SUMMARY: Not known to manufacture or use tools in the wild, a captive cockatoo demonstrates that parrots can make tools to suit their needs.   If you’ve ever lived with a parrot, then you are well aware that they come with a built-in multi-purpose tool attached to their faces. For this reason, most parrots do [...]

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Journal Club: Sing for your supper: fairy-wren chicks must sing vocal password for food

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: Sing for your supper: fairy-wren chicks must sing vocal password for food by Grrlscientist 14 November 2012

SUMMARY: Female fairy-wrens teach their chicks a vocal password before they hatch to distinguish them from brood parasitic bronze-cuckoo chicks How do parents recognize their offspring when the cost of making an error is high? To avoid wasting valuable time and energy by raising chicks of another species that commonly sneaks eggs into its nest, [...]

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Journal Club: One-eyed wooing

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: One-eyed wooing by Grrlscientist 10 October 2012

SUMMARY: A newly published study shows that beauty is in the right eye of the beholder for birds, providing the first demonstration in any animal of visual lateralization of mate choice. Conservation biologists are well aware that the most challenging part of their job is to convince their animals to breed — it’s certainly not [...]

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Journal Club: Wild parrots name their babies | video |

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: Wild parrots name their babies | video | by Grrlscientist 22 September 2012

SUMMARY: Wild green-rumped parrotlet parents give their babies their own individual names People who live with parrots know that they can mimic their human care-givers as well as many of the common sounds in their environment. Although such mimicry is delightful, it does raise the question of what purpose does vocal mimicry serve for wild [...]

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Journal Club: The birds and the trees

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: The birds and the trees by Grrlscientist 19 October 2011

Hoarding and breeding strategy of the Gray Jay SUMMARY: Gray jays hoping to survive and reproduce during Canada’s harsh winters must store food in the right kinds of trees If you’ve ever met a gray jay, Perisoreus canadensis, then I think you’ll agree with me that this audacious and personable bird is one of the [...]

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Journal Club: Sparrows show us a new way to have sexes

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: Sparrows show us a new way to have sexes by Grrlscientist 25 May 2011

I’ve always loved white-throated sparrows, Zonotrichia albicollis. Not only are these handsome birds the sister species to my own dissertation bird, the white-crowned sparrow, Z. leucophrys, but I think they are among the most fascinating bird species in the world. In fact, I am so captivated by this species that the chance to pursue my [...]

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