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If the field is too strong, or too weak, the bird cannot navigate. The same problem arises if the sky is too light or too dark. Cover the left eye and a bird can still navigate. Swap the blindfold to the right eye and it will remain for ever lost. While we work out the details, there are plenty of other puzzles, such as what tastes good to a bird. Many animals have a smaller selection of taste receptors than human beings.

Shakespeare’s Starlings And The City

Giant pandas have a sweet tooth but are unable to register the taste of amino acids — also known to us as umami. Birds may be in a similar position.

Smell is another important sense for birds. Some sniff the air in order to find their way home.

How To See Like A Bird

Homing pigeons deprived of their sense of smell are unable to navigate after release from an unfamiliar location. Others use smell to identify food sources. Then there are the mate-attracting smells: crested auklets have a lemony smell that advertises their hygienic status. This citrus odour is associated with a resistance to infection by lice, a desirable trait in a potential mate.

This article appears in the 27 August issue of the New Statesman, The new caliphate.

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Paperback review: Bird Sense - What It's Like to Be a Bird, By Tim Birkhead | The Independent

Be assured the Dunnock likes it, evolution has seen to that, for the dunnock's relations that didn't like it would I guess have been at a reproductive disadvantage and their genes would have became extinct! A marvelous thing evolution! Your email address will not be published. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.

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