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.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Small birds have vision twice as fast as humans: Study

Sat, 19 Mar 2016-06:15pm , PTI

Did you know this?
The vision of small perching birds in the wild is twice as quick as humans and faster than any vertebrates, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala University and Stockholm University in Sweden studied the ability to resolve visual detail in time in three small wild passerine species - blue tit, collared flycatcher and pied flycatcher.

The ability is the temporal resolution of eyesight, that is the number of changes per second an animal is capable of perceiving. It may be compared to spatial resolution (visual acuity), a measure of the number of details per degree in the field of vision, researchers said.

They trained wild-caught birds to receive a food reward by distinguishing between a pair of lamps, one flickering and one shining a constant light.

Temporal resolution was then determined by increasing the flicker rate to a threshold at which the birds could no longer tell the lamps apart.

This threshold, known as the CFF (critical flicker fusion rate), averaged between 129 and 137 hertz (Hz). In the pied flycatchers it reached as high as 146 Hz, some 50 Hz above the highest rate encountered for any other vertebrate, researchers said.

For humans, the CFF is usually approximately 60 Hz. For passerines, the world might to be said to be in slow motion compared with how it looks to us, they said.

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