HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
With a sense of timing, hummingbirds know when they've last emptied a flower

By observing rufous hummingbirds revisiting flowers that refill with nectar at regular intervals, researchers have found that these birds can remember when they last visited individual flowers. This so-called "interval timing" is an ability that has received much attention in the laboratory, where it has been shown that animals can learn to time one or two short intervals (on the order of seconds to 1 hours). However, almost nothing had been known about whether animals in the wild can do this in the course of their normal behavior.

The new findings are reported in the March 7th issue of Current Biology by Dr. Susan Healy of the University of Edinburgh, Dr. Andrew Hurly of the University of Lethbridge, and colleagues.

Hummingbirds that defend territories containing many flowers can remember which flowers they have visited. Because many flowers refill their nectar supplies, it would be very efficient if a territorial hummingbird could also remember when it last emptied a specific flower, so as to plan when to return to next harvest nectar. Returning too early would result in a wasted trip. Returning too late might result in another animal's taking the nectar. Thus, accurate measures of time intervals would support efficient harvesting of nectar.

In the new work, the researchers found that free-living hummingbirds tested in their breeding territories in the Canadian Rocky Mountains have timing abilities that are considerably more impressive than those that have been shown previously in the laboratory. Not only were the hummingbirds able to remember how long it had been since they had last emptied a flower, but they could also keep track of the time since the last visit to eight different flowers, and could continue to do this through the course of a day. In essence, these birds can maintain, over long periods of time, at least eight independent stopwatches, each of which is started by a visit to a particular flower and is reset when the bird ne
'"/>

Contact: Heidi Hardman
hhardman@cell.com
617-397-2879
Cell Press
6-Mar-2006


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Researchers discover how bacteria sense their environments
2. Gold nanoparticles could improve antisense cancer drugs
3. How odors are sensed: A complex system clarified
4. Evolutionary scrap-heap challenge: Antifreeze fish make sense out of junk DNA
5. Biosense Webster receives FDA approval for technology to treat patients with heart rhythm disease
6. UF scientists trace origin of sharks electric sense
7. MNI researchers find that sense of smell is dependent on body position
8. Duck-billed dino crests not linked to sense of smell
9. New study examines how sense of smell affects mating and aggression in mice
10. Bacteria which sense the Earths magnetic field
11. Navigating the brain for sense of direction as paradigm for higher cognitive functions

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: With sense timing hummingbirds know when they last emptied flower

(Date:11/21/2014)...  Earlier this year Donald Spector , Chairman ... of the most prolific inventors in the world, got ... Smartphones to third party agencies. Spector envisioned this technology ... the earliest known patents in this area. Now major ... child care, elder care and hospital applications. This technology ...
(Date:11/18/2014)... , Nov. 17, 2014   ... and EMC collaborate to develop The Partners Data ... , The Partners Data Lake will allow researcher ... improve diagnostics, treatment and the lives of patients ... research and clinical activities across the Partners system, ...
(Date:11/11/2014)...  Forensicon, Inc., a Chicago -based ... the promotion of Yaniv Schiff from Senior ... Schiff,s new role as Director, he will lead company ... examiners and provide leadership within the company,s digital forensics ... Schiff joined Forensicon in 2006 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Patented Biosensor Wearable Technology Provides a More Civilized Method of Quarantine 2Patented Biosensor Wearable Technology Provides a More Civilized Method of Quarantine 3Patented Biosensor Wearable Technology Provides a More Civilized Method of Quarantine 4Partners HealthCare and EMC Unite to Solve Health Care's Toughest Challenges Using Big Data 2Partners HealthCare and EMC Unite to Solve Health Care's Toughest Challenges Using Big Data 3Partners HealthCare and EMC Unite to Solve Health Care's Toughest Challenges Using Big Data 4Partners HealthCare and EMC Unite to Solve Health Care's Toughest Challenges Using Big Data 5Yaniv Schiff Promoted to Director of Digital Forensics at Forensicon, Inc. 2
(Date:11/26/2014)... , 25 novembre 2014 Theravalues Corporation ... sur le marché européen au salon Hi Europe ... Amsterdam ). Curcumine la plus ... technologie amorphe (non-cristalline) à des ingrédients approuvés par ... un pigment jaune présent dans la racine de ...
(Date:11/26/2014)... Theravalues Corporation annuncia con orgoglio il lancio di Theracurmin® ... Europe 2014 (dal 2 al 4 dicembre, ... con la maggiore biodisponibilità di sempre, con una combinazione ... norme europee. La curcumina è un pigmento ... longa ) che è stata associata con attività antiossidanti, ...
(Date:11/24/2014)... , Nov. 24, 2014  IGI Laboratories, Inc. ... based specialty generic pharmaceutical company, today announced it ... to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which ... 2014 to seven, with eighteen submissions now pending at ... President and CEO of the Company, commented, "Our team ...
(Date:11/24/2014)... 24, 2014  Last week, Representatives Gus ... (D-NC) took a bold bipartisan step on behalf ... OPEN Act. Original co-sponsors of the legislation include ... will incentivize drug makers and innovators to "repurpose" ... pediatric cancers, which opens the door to the ...
Breaking Biology Technology:La curcumine présentant la plus haute biodisponibilité bientôt en vente en Europe 2La curcumine présentant la plus haute biodisponibilité bientôt en vente en Europe 3La curcumina con la maggiore biodisponibilità di sempre farà il suo debutto in Europa 2La curcumina con la maggiore biodisponibilità di sempre farà il suo debutto in Europa 3IGI Laboratories, Inc. Announces ANDA Submission 2OPEN Act Introduced to Repurpose Drugs for Rare Diseases 2
Cached News: