As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Crimson rosella uses beak to sniff fellow birds and potential mates, Deakin research finds

IT turns out Polly might be best served ditching that cracker for some cologne.

Scientists previously thought birds had no sense of smell, until crimson rosellas proved Researchers at Deakin University have found an iconic Australian bird uses it beak to sniff out its own species, and even potential lovebirds.

Deakin’s Centre for Integrative Ecology found that crimson rosella parrots can recognise each other by a distinct smell left over from their feathers. The finding proves that the colourful creatures are more reliant on their sense of smell than previously thought.
“It has always been said that birds had no sense of smell but these findings indicate that they rely on their olfactory senses to communicate with one another and possibly even choose mates,” PhD student and project leader Milla Mihailova said.

The study relied on nest boxes at Bellbrae and Steiglitz in Victoria over two breeding seasons from 2011 to 2013, to gather its findings.

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