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 February 2016

Small birds prefer flying in company

Date:February 1, 2016
Source:Plataforma SINC

Until now, scientists had observed that some large birds are sociable amongst each other. However, a new study has confirmed that this unique characteristic can also be seen among smaller birds such as the Eurasian siskin, a bird which is able to form bonds that last for a number of years as well as travel long distances in the company of these birds. This intimacy may favour reproduction in addition to facilitating the process of adjusting to a new place.

The sociability of swans, geese and birds of the crow family has been studied and is well understood by scientists. These are large birds that tend to form stable, long-lasting bonds. This peculiarity, however, had not been observed in smaller birds, such is the case with the Eurasian siskin (Carduelis spinus). A study published in 'Bird Study' reveals that this species has a tendency to travel long distances in groups over the course of several years. Up to this time, researchers from the Natural Sciences Museum of Barcelona -the leaders of this study- had discovered that female Eurasian siskins in captivity prefer to mate with males that they know. Nevertheless, the investigators still needed to prove that these birds, when out in nature, do indeed live together for periods of time that are long enough for these specimens to interact and to get to know each other.

"In this study we show how the Eurasian siskin is able to form stable group relationships lasting for periods of several years in addition to travelling in each other' company over distances spanning more than 1,000 km," points out Juan Carlos Senar, lead author of this study and a scientist at the museum.

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