Agriculture
Getting the dirt on carbon
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Making the most of a meal
Amphibians
Bullfrogs
Salamanders and Newts
Poison Dart Frogs
Animals
Hot Pepper, Hot Spider
Vampire Bats on the Run
Young Ants in the Kitchen
Behavior
Face values
The (kids') eyes have it
Reading Body Language
Birds
Roadrunners
Flamingos
A Meal Plan for Birds
Chemistry and Materials
Screaming for Ice Cream
When frog gender flips
Supergoo to the rescue
Computers
It's a Small E-mail World After All
Games with a Purpose
Nonstop Robot
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Ancient Critter Caught Shedding Its Skin
A Big, Weird Dino
Downsized Dinosaurs
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
The Rise of Yellowstone
Groundwater and the Water Cycle
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Environment
Ready, unplug, drive
Fishing for Fun Takes Toll
Where rivers run uphill
Finding the Past
Early Maya Writing
Untangling Human Origins
The Puzzle of Ancient Mariners
Fish
Hammerhead Sharks
Nurse Sharks
Electric Eel
Food and Nutrition
The mercury in that tuna
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. Whom
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Subject and Verb Agreement
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Mathematics
Setting a Prime Number Record
Monkeys Count
Losing with Heads or Tails
Human Body
Nature's Medicines
A Long Haul
Music in the Brain
Invertebrates
Scallops
Walking Sticks
Worms
Mammals
Great Danes
Guinea Pigs
African Hyenas
Parents
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Electric Backpack
Einstein's Skateboard
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Plants
Surprise Visitor
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
A Change in Leaf Color
Reptiles
Boa Constrictors
Lizards
Chameleons
Space and Astronomy
A Planet's Slim-Fast Plan
An Icy Blob of Fluff
A Dead Star's Dusty Ring
Technology and Engineering
Drawing Energy out of Wastewater
Musclebots Take Some Steps
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Preposition?
Transportation
Robots on a Rocky Road
Revving Up Green Machines
Middle school science adventures
Weather
Earth's Poles in Peril
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Add your Article

A Meal Plan for Birds

If you want to make waffles for breakfast, you have to plan ahead. First, you need to stock up on ingredients at the grocery store. Then, you need to mix the batter and remember where you stashed the waffle iron.

Birds don’t make waffles, but the results of new research suggest that western scrub jays do a bird version of thinking for their morning meals. It could be the best example yet of other animals planning ahead.

Lots of animals behave in ways that suggest they have an eye on the future. Geese, for example, fly south for the winter. After a day home alone, my cat runs to the front room when she hears me fumbling with my keys outside the door. Plenty of dogs do the same thing.

In cases such as these, however, the animals aren’t necessarily planning. They may simply be acting in response to a signal that’s built-in or learned.

Nuts are a major part of the scrub jay’s diet, and the birds normally store extra nuts by burying them. To test for planning behavior in scrub jays, researchers from the University of Cambridge in England put the birds in chambers with two side rooms. In the first part of the experiment, the researchers ground up the birds’ food so that they couldn’t store it.

On some mornings, the scrub jays were kept for 2 hours in one of the side rooms with no breakfast. On other mornings, birds were locked in the other side room, which had ground-up food. This phase of the study taught the birds that food was always available in one room but never in the other.

Then, the scientists gave eight scrub jays an evening surprise. For once, the jays could eat as many whole pine nuts as they wanted. They could also stash extras wherever they wanted.

A western scrub jay.

A western scrub jay.

Clayton Lab

And they did: The birds put most of their nuts in the room where breakfast was never served. It was as if they were putting waffle mix in an empty pantry for the next day.

In a second experiment, the scientists put peanuts in one side room and food pellets in the other. The birds learned which room was which. Then, during an evening session, the scientists gave the birds the opportunity to store both types of food.

The birds stashed more peanuts in the pellet room and more pellets in the peanut room. It would be as if you put maple syrup in a room full of waffles and waffles in a room full of syrup.

These are the first tests in any animal to meet the definition of animal planning, says Sara Shettleworth of the University of Toronto in Canada.—E. Sohn

A Meal Plan for Birds
A Meal Plan for Birds








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™