Ravens Show Emotions

July 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Features

Ravens have had a stigma attached to them for centuries, symbolizing darkness in poems, songs and movies. With their black plumage and black eyes, they would seem to be the ideal bird to symbolize death and depression, but these fascinating birds also have a compassionate and social side to them that few have been aware of until recently. Researchers specifically chose ravens for their studies, due to the fact that ravens stay in a social flock for approximately ten years of their lives before finding a mate and pairing off. This characteristic of the raven has allowed researchers to study how they interact, and even how they console each other.

More than 150 fights were documented and recorded by the researchers over a two year study period to learn more about the socialization of the ravens. A special group of hand-reared ravens were chosen for the study, allowing them to live in a flock as they would in the wild. The young ravens showed all the natural signs of birds that are not in captivity, such as fighting for dominance and various other reasons. From these conflicts it could easily be assessed which of the birds were the victims, which were the aggressors and those who can be classified as bystanders.

The study showed that once a fight had occurred between the birds, bystanders that had a relationship with the victim would console each other. At times, victims would be consoled by random bystanders through preening or even just by touch. It was also observed that bystanders did not fear approaching a victim, as victims rarely initiated aggressive behavior, and that victims could also approach other birds in the flock after an altercation without leading to another unprovoked fight. Victims could, however, not approach their aggressor. The act of consoling a victim also seems to bring peace to the flock. Relationships between birds can also blossom through the act of consoling, bringing the flock together again. Emotional acts that were once only attributed to humans can now also be seen in birds, and the study of the ravens has confirmed this fact. Nature never ceases to amaze us and teaches us something new each day. In this case, the ravens have revealed a softer and lighter side to their personalities.

Bird Behavior

February 9, 2009 by  
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Bird behavior refers to the actions of a bird in response to environmental situations. Some bird behavior is instinctive, whilst other behavior is learned. Behavior includes caring for itself, feeding and interaction with others (birds, humans, other animals).

To develop a happy and satisfying relationship with your pet bird it is important to understand its behavior. Birds view people as part of their flock and therefore act accordingly. Dominant behavior by birds is displayed when the bird believes it is head of the pecking order. It is thus very important to establish the pecking order with your bird as the subordinate. A dominant bird may develop “bad”; behavior such as biting or screeching. It may feel it needs to defend its territory against disliked people and attack them. Such behavior by birds can be avoided by keeping the top of the bird’s head level with your chest. Do not allow it to perch above you or on your shoulder as this encourages dominant behavior.

Bird behavior can often be interpreted, much like a foreign language. Tongue clicking is an invitation to interact. Grinding of the beak indicates contentment. Panting is a sign that a bird is overheated or perhaps uncomfortable. A sharp flick of the wings demonstrates annoyance. Observe your pet bird’s behavior carefully and you will gain much insight into its state of mind and general well-being.

Preening is an important part of bird behavior as it keeps feathers in good condition. Preening involves the smoothing of feathers by stroking the feathers with the beak. Preening behavior by garden birds may include dust baths and splashing around in water.

Bird feeding behavior may change due to temperature, season and time of day. This is especially evident in the feeding behavior of garden birds. In winter they are more likely to make use of bird feeders due to a lack of natural food sources. Your pet bird may begin bobbing his/her head when hungry or excited by the prospect of being fed. Many birds expect to be fed at a certain time every day. Some species are very messy feeders and feed with great enthusiasm.

Bird behavior is intricate and fascinating, whether you are observing the behavior of garden birds, birds in the wild or your own beloved pet.

Green Woodhoopoe Displays Remarkable Team Spirit

September 5, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Ongoing research into bird behavior continues to reveal fascinating facts about the multitude of feathered creatures that share our planet. Results from recent research indicates that when a rival flock has defeated them in a raucous show of superiority, Green Woodhoopoes display supportive behavior to their fellow flock-mates in a manner that researchers have likened to football fans commiserating with one another when the team they are supporting loses.

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Keeping Waxbills in an Aviary

March 17, 2008 by  
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Waxbills belong to the same family as finches (Estrildidae) and there are sixteen species of these lively and entertaining little birds. Keeping waxbills is not a complicated undertaking. However, they do have specific requirements to maintain optimum health and these should be taken into consideration before deciding to buy one (or preferably two).

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