Gouldian finches have different colored caps, most of the time they prefer to mate with a mate who has a matching colored head (red, yellow or black).
But if you cover the right eye of the brunette male finch he will flirt with red heads and blonds. He also made much less of an attempt to woo the female with whom he was flirting.
Birds have less of a connection between sight and the right and left brain, each eye strongly links to the opposite side of the brain. We are finding creatures that have strong eye separation also have a stronger separation between what each hemisphere of the brain performs.
I’ve noticed this behavior in back yard birds when a cat catches a bird, but not when a hawk catches a bird.
Western scrub jays summon others to screech over the body of a dead jay, according to new research from the University of California, Davis. The birds’ cacophonous “funerals” can last for up to half an hour.
Western scrub jays live in breeding pairs and are not particularly social birds.
“They’re really territorial and not at all friendly with other scrub-jays,” Iglesias said.
Working in the backyards of homes in Davis, Calif., Iglesias set up feeding tables to encourage visits from the jays. Then she videotaped their behavior when she placed a dead jay on the ground. She compared these reactions with the birds’ behavior when confronted with a dead jay that had been stuffed and mounted on a perch, a stuffed horned owl, and wood painted to represent jay feathers.
On encountering a dead jay, prostrate on the ground, jays flew into a tree and began a series of loud, screeching calls that attracted other jays. The summoned birds perched on trees and fences around the body and joined in the calling. These cacophonous gatherings could last from a few seconds to as long as 30 minutes.
1. Plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist for each new day. You can also submit more than one checklist per day if you count in other locations on that day.
2. Count the greatest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time. You may find it helpful to print out your regional bird checklist to get an idea of the kinds of birds you’re likely to see in your area in February. You could take note of the highest number of each species you see on this checklist.
3. When you’re finished, enter your results through our web page. You’ll see a button marked “Enter Your Checklists!” on the website home page beginning on the first day of the count. It will remain active until the deadline for data submission. (We’ll let you know when that is for 2012.)
As summer heats up, the sight of blooming thistles may give male goldfinches a testosterone kick.
Thistle flowers could signal to American goldfinches that the seeds the songbirds prize for baby food and parent food will soon be abundant, proposes Thomas Luloff of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. And in lab setups, male goldfinches housed among blooming Canadian thistles underwent physiological changes that indicate the birds got the “breed now” message from the combination of summery heat and thrilling thistles, Luloff reported January 6 at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. read more