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.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Robot owls decode bird alarm calls

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 2:30pm

Using taxidermied, robotic birds of prey, scientists are exploring the nuances of bird warning calls and how they’re transmitted across the landscape, The New York Times reports. At one time, scientists thought that birds’ alarm calls were short-lived and produced to warn other nearby birds of imminent danger. Now, it’s possible that the calls could be spread across the landscape, picked up by various species of birds and passed through a forest at more than 160 kilometers per hour. The calls themselves could even be detailed enough to signal the difference between a pygmy owl or Cooper’s hawk. Even other species such as squirrels and chipmunks may eavesdrop on the calls and understand, at least somewhat, that the chirps signal an approaching predator, the scientists say. 

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