Monday, September 24, 2007

Avian Cognition: How cognitively complex are the signals and the responses?

Photograph W.A. Commons
Cooper's Hawk sitting on a bird feeder waiting for lunch to appear using a rather upfront strategy--stillness and proximity. Or perhaps is there another Cooper's out of sight waiting for a panic reverse in flight causing vulnerability on the part of songbirds? These hawks are known to work in tandem, which conceivably involves "communication" between hunting partners.

Silver's species, African Grey Congos, are prey animals in the wild therefore he is ever vigilant outdoors and often in the house if there are unfamiliar people or things. He must decide with new people, new things, new sounds, what is dangerous and deserves a response and what doesn't. That involves cognitive decision making. He is wired to flee from hawks as having never seen one, when one passed the window he was sitting in, he flung himself to the floor.

Tristan and Isolde stare fixedly at their young for several minutes. Why? Are they "thinking"? Looking for something specific? "Enjoying" the sight of their eyasses?

The email conversation between John Blakeman and I about Red-tail cognition and Eleanor Tauber's mystery plant coming up tomorrow instead of today due to technical difficulties.

Two young Mourning Doves, possibly Friend's and Doorsteps, preening after a tandem bath this afternoon on the Goodie Stump.

One again around 7PM Friend and three youngsters sat on the birdbath for about 15 minutes. Where is Doorstep Dove?

An hour or so earlier this Mourning Dove perched alone for some time on the glider. I couldn't see if it was Doorstep or not. I'll keep looking.
Donegal Browne

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