Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mockingbirds -- No Bird Brains -- Can Recognize A Face In A Crowd

(I knew this years ago. The ones who nested in our yard knew we tried to protect them from cats.)
The birds are watching. They know who you are. And they will attack.
Nope, not Hitchcock. It's science.

University of Florida biologists are reporting that mockingbirds recognize and remember people whom the birds perceive as threatening their nests. If the white-and-grey songbirds common in cities and towns throughout the Southeast spot their unwelcome guests, they screech, dive bomb and even sometimes graze the visitors' heads -- while ignoring other passers-by or nearby strangers.

"We tend to view all mockingbirds as equal, but the feeling is not mutual," said Doug Levey, a UF professor of biology. "Mockingbirds certainly do not view all humans as equal."

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