View Full Version : Birds that smell
Seabirds called prions, which mate for life, find their nests by sniffing out their smelly partners (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3961069.stm)
The birds make their nests in deep burrows, which are very dark, so they cannot rely on any other sense to find them...
Although this use of smell has been observed in mammals, it has never before been seen in birds.
10-31-2004, 10:43 PM
For a minute there I thought you were talking about my dove cages :blush:
But seriously Joe, thats a very interesting article. I must research these interesting little birds further.
11-01-2004, 12:14 AM
Prions burrow deep into brains, causing Mad Cow Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease? Probably wouldn't work on me, there's all that light coming through the ears into my empty head. BTW, did I mention that I don't have a brain? Scarecrow's got nothing on me. We're off to see the Whizzer.
The Lone Ranger
11-01-2004, 04:37 AM
The popular (mis)conception is that birds have no sense of smell. Though most birds have a poorly-developed sense of smell, it's not absent. In some species, it's quite well-developed, of course.
Some vulture species, for instance, have excellent senses of smell. So much so that they're sometimes used to locate leaks in natural gas lines. If it's suspected that there's a leak in a natural gas pipeline somewhere, the company can put chemicals in the gas (I don't remember off the top of my head which chemicals) that attract vultures, because they're some of the same chemicals given off by rotting meat. Then, to find the leak, they simply look for lots of vultures circling. Pretty neat!
By the way, snakes aren't deaf, either. And bats aren't blind.
11-01-2004, 04:44 AM
By the way, snakes aren't deaf, either.
Yeah, so watch your language! :angry:
11-01-2004, 07:56 PM
And bats aren't blind
Some bats can see quite well too. Echolocation(active hearing) is the important sense for most bats though.
11-01-2004, 08:37 PM
I saw a show on PBS once (a National Geographic special?) in which they took some rotting meat (which they had sealed up in a backpack for transportation) and buried it in the jungle under some leaves. Hawks came circling around within 15 or 20 minutes, IIRC, from miles away. Their sense of smell was astonishingly good.
11-01-2004, 08:47 PM
When I read the title, it reminded me of how wonderful my amazon parrot smells. (I was away from all my pets for a few days, so this came to forefront when I came home and gave her a hug and a long skritch.) A common trait for amazons, she has a musky scent that, according to everything I've read, is unique to each individual. I haven't researched why these birds have such personal perfumes but since it tends to come out more strongly during her horny seasons, I imagine it's pheromone/mating related.
I figure if a bird's gonna bother to evolve to exude a personal scent, they probably bothered to evolve a good sense of smell to detect it.
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