Birds Want the Tea 


Why do we want the tea? Of course because it’s hot and tasty, but it’s also often genuinely useful information to have in your mental filing cabinet! Birds are no different. Birds want the tea, too, and they’ll even learn other birds’ languages to get it.

The Associated Press reported on the results of a study recently published in the journal Current Biology. Scientists in Australia discovered that they could essentially put the fairy wren on a Duolingo regimen, by wandering around the Australian National Botanic Gardens with little speakers strapped to their wrists. From there:

They attempted to train half the birds to recognize the thornbill’s alarm cry as a warning sound, and the other half to recognize the computer-generated “buzz” as a distress call. They did that by playing the previously unfamiliar sounds in conjunction with noises that the birds already associated with danger, such as fairy wrens’ own distress cry.
After three days, the scientists tested what the birds had learned — and their feathered pupils passed the test.
The two sets of fairy wrens responded to the sound they had been trained on by fleeing for cover, but remained indifferent to the other sound.

Birds know.

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