Friday Faves March 4, 2016

Bird Brilliance

Birds may use alligators as security guards -- previous studies show that birds that nest near alligator habitat produce more offspring. But a new study also showed that alligators near nesting birds were heartier, suggesting that the nesting birds may "pay" for this security service with a few babies that fall out of the nest...into the alligator's mouth. Read a summary here.

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crowWhy are New Caledonian crows good at some tasks and not others? Is it the nature of the test? Researchers in New Zealand looked at the reasons that primates performed better on "self-control tasks" in a recent study that compared cognition across many species (hey I was one of the many authors of that study!) - could hands and experience with humans have an effect?

Meanwhile, a new paper explores the fact that corvids and parrots show cognitive abilities on par with primates, despite having a VERY different brain structure (which lacks the neocortex that is often considered responsible for "higher functions"). Summary here.

Kitty Corner

Can you talk to your cat?

atlasCommunication with cats: it may not be easy, but you can do it! John Bradshaw and I spoke with Dan Nosowitz at Atlas Obscura about recent studies, training cats, and how well they understand what we are saying to them!




Amazing food puzzle hack!

I love anything to do with food puzzles, and homemade is even better. My friend and fellow cat behavior consultant, Ingrid and Fundamentally Feline, came up with this amazing idea to make a foraging and scratching toy out of a chair. Yes, a chair! Check it out!!!

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