When a jay dies, the chorus cries

New research shows birds are aware of their dead and respond with cacophonous gatherings.

The research, which was carried out on Western scrub-jay birds, showed that when one bird discovered another, it would respond by calling out to other members of its species. Within minutes, dozens of birds would gather together with a cacophonous response that lasted between a few seconds or even 30 minutes. The Western scrub–jays also responded to dead owls.

While the study indicates birds are indeed aware of their dead, it is unclear why the response of one bird calling out drew more birds to the site, instead of acting as a warning for danger.

Read more at University of Callifornia Davis

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