Navigation Links
"You hide it -- I'll find it!" -- Great tit has a bird's eye view when looking for dinner
Date:2/12/2014

Birds that hoard food for a rainy day better be sure that there are no great tits around to spy on where they hide their reserve of seeds and nuts. So says Anders Brodin and Utku Urhan of the University of Lund in Sweden, who found that great tits can remember the position of such hideaways up to 24 hours after seeing it cached. Interestingly, even though great tits share this mental ability with well-known hoarders such as crows and jays, they do not store up food themselves. The findings appear in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

Observations were conducted in a laboratory especially designed for bird experiments. Caged great tits (Parus major) were first allowed to observe where marsh tits (Poecile palustris) stored away sunflower seeds. After a retention interval of either one or 24 hours, the birds were then allowed to go in search of these caches. The great tits did this most accurately after one hour, while they were just slightly less accurate in memorizing the hideaways after 24 hours.

In nature it is very useful to be able to observe others' cache and to memorize its location so that it can be recovered at a later stage. This elaborate strategy requires memory storage over an extended time. This skill has previously only been demonstrated in some species of corvids, such as the Mexican jay and Clark's nutcracker. The current Swedish study is the first to show that members of the Paridae family, which include tits, chickadees and titmice, have the same observational spatial learning and memorizing ability.

Brodin and Urhan write that they are not surprised that great tits have the cognitive capacity to do observational learning, given their innovative feeding behavior in general. Previous research has shown that they could observe and learn complex foraging behavior not only from other birds of the same species but also from blue and marsh tits.

What Brodin and Urhan did find surprising is that this species is not itself a food hoarder, and may therefore not have the special memory adaptations in the brain that is possessed by specialized food hoarders. They believe that an observing pilferer uses different memorizing techniques than hoarders, and has some understanding of allocentric space that allows them to understand the position of the cache even if it is not in direct view.

"The ability of observational memorization could be more important for non-hoarders than for hoarders, as this could increase their chances of survival especially when foraging conditions are bad," says Brodin. "For example, after a blizzard, the access to stored food may be the difference between life and death."


'/>"/>

Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. People who know their heart age make greater improvements to their heart health
2. Genes and calls reveal 5-fold greater diversity of Amazon frog species
3. Efforts to curb climate change require greater emphasis on livestock
4. Big data project reveals where carbon-stocking projects in Africa provide the greatest benefits
5. New technique identifies pathogens in patient samples faster, in great detail
6. Great lakes waterfowl die-offs: Finding the source
7. Genome scale view of great white shark uncovers unexpected and distinctive features
8. GreatWineProducts.com Opens Its Online Store for Holiday Shopping: Personal and Corporate Gifts Available
9. Natures great diversity: Remarkable 277 new wasp species from Costa Rica
10. Maintaining strength in ocean science requires greater collaboration, coordination, and integration
11. Researchers Able to Identify that Benign Tumors from Use of Oral Contraceptive Have a Greater Chance of Becoming Malignant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2017)... , April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through ... Innovation Summits will run alongside the expo portion of ... sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on trending topics within ... advanced design and manufacturing event will take place June ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 No two ... researchers at the New York University Tandon School ... Engineering have found that partial similarities between prints ... used in mobile phones and other electronic devices ... The vulnerability lies in the fact that ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , ... server component of the HYPR platform is officially ... end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune ... already secured over 15 million users across the financial ... connected home product suites and physical access represent a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... AMRI, a global contract research, development and manufacturing organization ... quality of life, will now be offering its impurity solutions as a stand-alone ... for all new drug products, including the finalization of ICH M7 earlier this ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 11, 2017 , ... Personal eye wash is a basic first aid supply for any work ... which eye do you rinse first if a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one ... with its unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands and LAGUNA HILLS, ... that The Institute of Cancer Research, London ... will use MMprofiler™ with SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify ... high-risk trial known as MUK nine . The University ... this trial, which is partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has unveiled ... bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to new ... , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking classes ...
Breaking Biology Technology: