MISSOULA, Mont. — In the backyard of a woodsy home outside this college town, small birds — black-capped chickadees, mountain chickadees, red-breasted nuthatches — flitted to and from the yard’s feeder. They were oblivious to a curious stand nearby, topped by a curtain that was painted to resemble bark.
Erick Greene, a professor of biology at the University of Montana, stepped away from the stand and stood by the home’s backdoor. He pressed the fob of a modified garage-door opener. The curtain dropped, unveiling a taxidermied northern pygmy owl. Its robotic head moved from side to side, as if scanning for its next meal.
The yard hushed, then erupted in sound. Soon birds arrived from throughout the neighborhood to ornament the branches of a hawthorn above the mobbed owl and call out yank-yank and chick-a-dee.
As a recorder captured the ruckus, its instigator grinned with delight. “For birds, this is like a riot,” Dr. Greene said afterward, adding that he heard “a whole set of acoustic stuff going on that’s just associated with predators.” The distinctions are subtle — “even good naturalists and birders can miss this stuff,” he added.
We’ve all heard how rats will abandon a sinking ship. But will the rodents attempt to save their companions in the process? A new study shows that rats will, indeed, rescue their distressed pals from the drink—even when they’re offered chocolate instead.
They’re also more likely to help when they’ve had an unpleasant swimming experience of their own, adding to growing evidence that the rodents feel empathy.
Rats have more heart than you might think. When one is drowning, another will put out a helping paw to rescue its mate. This is especially true for rats that previously had a watery near-death experience, says Nobuya Sato and colleagues of the Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan. Their findings are published in Springer's journal Animal Cognition.
Recent research has shown that a rat will help members of its own species to escape from a tubelike cage. The helping rat will show such prosocial behavior even if it does not gain any advantage from it. To see whether these rodents will also help when one of their own is about to drown, Sato's team conducted three sets of experiments involving a pool of water. One rat was made to swim for its life in the pool, with another being in a cage adjacent to it. The soaked rat could only gain access to a dry and safe area in the cage if its cagemate opened a door for it.
Why is your cat purring? He might be happy to see you, or hungry, or hurt...or he might just be trying to regenerate his bones. The post Why Do Cats Purr? It’s Not Just Because They’re Happy appeared first on WIRED.
Bats fly with breathtaking precision because their wings are equipped with highly sensitive touch sensors, cells that respond to even slight changes in airflow, researchers have demonstrated for the first time.
Male Java sparrows may coordinate their bill-clicking sounds with the notes of their song, according to a study published May 20, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Masayo Soma and Chihiro Mori from Hokkaido University, Japan.
Vets in Pakistan working for global equine welfare charity the Brooke have collaborated with the University of Bristol on a newly published paper to discover whether a donkey is in pain by just being observed.
"The CCSAW 8th Annual Animal Welfare Research Symposium is THIS WEEK ! The program is now online - The Symposium covers a range of topics related to animal welfare, animal ethics and the role of animals in society. This event has something for everyone - our program features animal welfare research on dairy cows, horses, pigs, laying hens, turkeys, tigers, cats, dogs, and mice."
The effects of compassion are far reaching and have been shown to have benefits for physical as well as psychological health. A wealth of evidence demonstrates that social support, when humans connect in a meaningful way with other people or animals, helps in the recovery from illness as well as promoting increased levels of mental and physical well-being.
Evidence from studies mentioned in the previous blog suggests that interventions can lead to reduced depressive symptoms and feelings of isolation, improvements in positive emotions, psychological well-being, hopefulness, optimism, social connection, life satisfaction, and, of specific interest to this paper – compassion....
Cultivating compassion for all living beings and practicing a compassionate lifestyle can, therefore, help boost social connection and also improve physical and mental health.
Many human communities want answers about the current status and future of Arctic marine mammals, including scientists who dedicate their lives to study them and indigenous people whose traditional ways of subsistence are intertwined with the fate...
Dolphins that raise their voices to be heard in noisy environments expend extra energy in doing so, according to new research that for the first time measures the biological costs to marine mammals of trying to communicate over the sounds of ship traffic or other sources. While dolphins expend only slightly more energy on louder whistles or other vocalizations, the metabolic cost may add up over time when the animals must compensate for chronic background noise, according to the research by scientists at NOAA Fisheries' Northwest Fisheries Science Center and the University of California Santa Cruz.
How aware are you of the birds that live in your neighborhood? Do you know how many different species there are? Do enjoy your local birds, or find them annoying? J. Amy Belaire of St. Edward's University, Lynne Westphal of the U.S.
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