For most animals, scent is the instant messenger of choice for quickly exchanging personal profiles. Scientists, however, have long dismissed birds as odor-eschewing Luddites that don’t take advantage of scent-based communications.
In a first-of-its-kind study, however, a Michigan State University researcher has demonstrated that birds do indeed communicate via scents, and that odor reliably predicts their reproductive success. The study appears in the current issue of Animal Behaviour and focuses on volatile compounds in avian preen secretions. (more…)