[TN-Bird] Re: A New Report of Tool Use by Birds - Burrowing Owls

Interesting.  A good friend of mine earned her Masters studying
Burrowing Owls in SW Idaho.  Some KTOS members may recall me showing
pictures and talking about this research in a meeting 2-3 years ago.

One of her fellow researchers was following the hypothesis that the
dung helped to regulate humidity in the burrow - something that is
perhaps more of an issue in the arid high desert than in soupy
Florida.  I never did hear the results of his research, but it
included adding small temp/humidity data loggers to the artificial
burrows, and corresponding those data with actions such as egg
laying, hatching, etc.

Charlie


--- "Charles P. Nicholson" <cpnichol@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> From the current issue of the journal Nature:
> Nature 431, 39 (02 September 2004); doi:10.1038/431039a       
>  <>   
> Animal behaviour: Use of dung as a tool by burrowing owls
> DOUGLAS J. LEVEY*, R. SCOT DUNCAN? & CARRIE F. LEVINS?
> * Department of Zoology, PO Box 118525, University of Florida,
> Gainesville,
> Florida 32611-8525 USA
> ? Division of Science and Mathematics, Birmingham-Southern College,
> Box
> 549022, Birmingham, Alabama 35254, USA
> ? 107 North El Centro Boulevard, Panama City Beach, Florida 32413,
> USA
> 
> Reports of tool usage by birds tend to be anecdotal as only a few
> individuals may be involved and the behaviour observed can often be
> interpreted in other ways. Here we describe the widespread
> collection of
> mammalian dung by burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) and show that
> they use
> this dung as a bait to attract dung beetles, a major item of prey.
> Our
> controlled investigation provides an unambiguous estimate of the
> importance
> of tool use in a wild animal.
> 
> 
> Chuck Nicholson
> Norris, TN
> 
> 
> 
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=====
**************************************************
Charlie Muise, Naturalist near
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of cancer."  -Edward Abbey
**************************************************


                
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