Humans can't see UV light, but birds can. By combining spectral light with UV, researchers proved that birds can differentiate between those colors. This means that when the birds look at objects we can see as spectral light, they are likely seeing many more colors because that fourth cone gives the ability to see more color combinations.

The actual study is here.

The flight data recorder revealed that frigatebirds sleep in both expected and unexpected ways during flight. During the day the birds stayed awake actively searching for foraging opportunities. As the sun set, the awake EEG pattern switched to a SWS pattern for periods lasting up to several minutes while the birds were soaring. Surprisingly, SWS could occur in one hemisphere at a time or both hemispheres together. The presence of such bihemispheric sleep indicates that unihemispheric sleep is not required to maintain aerodynamic control. Nonetheless, when compared to sleep on land, SWS was more often unihemispheric in flight.

Men hoten finns fortfarande kvar. Miljögifter, skogsavverkning, tjuvjakt och plundring av bon är faror för den känsliga arten.

By 2050, about 99.8% of the species studied will have eaten plastic, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Consuming plastic can cause myriad problems, Wilcox says. For example, some types of plastics absorb and concentrate environmental pollutants, he notes. After ingestion, those chemicals can be released into the birds’ digestive tracts, along with chemicals in the plastics that keep them soft and pliable. But plastic bits aren’t always pliable enough to get through a gull’s gut. Most birds have trouble passing large bits of plastic, and they build up in the stomach, sometimes taking up so much room that the birds can’t consume enough food to stay healthy.

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They’re not just used by behavioural scientists: a Skinner box can be a useful device for training pets, especially pets with a reasonable amount of smarts, like parrots or rats. It can automate the process you may have already used with your pet, where “correct” behaviour is rewarded – walk to heel, get a doggy snack.

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Skinner boxes are also pretty expensive. So Katherine Scott, computer vision and robotics expert, electronics ninja and rat owner/trainer, has built her own, which she intends to release as an open source device when she’s finished refining it.

In the study, 10 untrained Goffin’s cockatoos faced a puzzle box showing a nut behind a transparent door secured by a series of five different interlocking devices, each one jamming the next along in the series. To retrieve the nut the birds had to first remove a pin, then a screw, then a bolt, then turn a wheel 90 degrees, and then shift a latch sideways. § One bird, called Pipin, cracked the problem unassisted in less than two hours, and several others did it after being helped either by being presented with the series of locks incrementally or being allowed to watch a skilled partner doing it.

This African gray parrot named Pepper can not fly, since his wings are clipped. But he can drive a little buggy designed by his owner, Andrew Gray, an electrical and computer engineering graduate student at the University of Florida. So that pretty much makes Pepper the Mario Andretti of birds.

Here's a video showing how the buggy works. Looks like fun! And the song is fun until (spoiler alert) the robot gains sentience. Anyway, enjoy!

Our observations prove that innovative tool-related problem-solving is within this species’ cognitive resources. As it is unknown for tools to play a major role in this species’ ecology, this strengthens the view that tool competences can originate on general physical intelligence, rather than just as problem-specific ecological solutions (see discussions in [2,4]). The precise cognitive operations underlying such innovations are still unknown, but future studies may continue to unravel them by modifying the tasks, and controlling the developmental history and pre-experimental experience across different groups of subjects.

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Parrotsurvey

www.parrotsurvey.com/, posted 2012 by peter in bird science

Do you have a pet parrot? Would you like to learn more about your parrot's behaviour? So would we!

Researchers at the University of Guelph (Canada) and the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) are seeking parrot owners or caretakers who are willing to participate in an online survey focusing on their parrot's behaviour and living environment. We are interested in all psittacine species: from budgerigars, to cockatoos, to macaws – and all species in between. We would like to collect information on both healthy, problem-free birds and those with health or behaviour problems. We invite you, as the owner of a pet parrot or parakeet, to participate in this international research project! You can be assured that your important contribution will help to improve the welfare of captive parrots. And, who knows? Maybe you'll learn some new and interesting things about your own parrot in the process…

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