Download Video (15 MB)
IT TURNS OUT MOCKINGBIRDS MAY BE KEEPING A CLOSE EYE ON YOU AND ME… AND RESEARCH SHOWS THEY CAN EVEN TELL US APART.
A NEW UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA STUDY SHOWS THAT MOCKINGBIRDS SEEM TO BE ABLE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL HUMANS. SCIENTISTS SENT TEST SUBJECTS TO APPROACH A MOCKINGBIRD NEST FOR THIRTY SECONDS AT A TIME OVER SEVERAL DAYS. THE BIRDS TREATED THEM AS A THREAT.
Doug Levey/UF zoologist: “What we found is that over successive days, the birds reacted more and more to that individual. And then on a fifth day we had somebody the birds had never seen before do exactly the same thing. And the birds responded to that individual very, very differently.”
THE BIRDS DID NOT ATTACK THE STRANGERS WHO CAME BY JUST ONCE…
Doug Levey/UF zoologist: “We don’t know whether it’s unique to mockingbirds, but it does suggest these birds are a heck of a lot more intelligent than people have ever given them credit for. People have known for a long time that crows and parrots for ex have a lot of intelligence. But these birds are fairly small. And to the extent that they can learn so quickly to identify individual humans that’s quite surprising. It’ll change the way people view the intelligence of birds like this.”
EXPERTS SAY THE RESULTS SUGGEST THAT MOCKINGBIRDS ADAPT WELL TO URBAN ENVIRONMENTS AND KEEP A CLOSE WATCH ON THEIR NEIGHBORS. AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA I’M QUINTEN EYMAN.