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.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Jackdaws learn from each other about 'dangerous' humans

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019

Jackdaws can learn from each other to identify "dangerous" humans, new research shows.
The birds are known to recognise individual people, and respond differently to those they see as a threat.
In the new study, by the University of Exeter, a person unknown to the jackdaws approached their nest, and scientists played a recording of either a warning call or "contact calls" (suggesting no threat).
The next time the jackdaws saw this person, the birds that had heard the warning call reacted defensively by retuning more quickly to their nests.
"One of the big challenges for a lot of animals is how to live alongside humans," said lead author Victoria Lee, a Ph.D. researcher at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
"People can provide some benefits, such as the food at bird feeders, but in some cases humans are also a threat.
"Being able to discriminate between dangerous and harmless people is likely to be beneficial, and in this case we see jackdaws can learn to identify dangerous people without having had a bad experience themselves."
The study was carried out at three sites in Cornwall, focussing on 34 jackdaw nest boxes.

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