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Glowing Birds

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As an owner of budgerigars, also commonly known as 'parakeets', I've always been fascinated by their 'feather talk', the puffing and displaying of head feathers between a pair of mated birds. Researchers in Scotland have discovered, though, that the feathers not only puff for a chosen mate, they fluoresce as well. Birds generally have a more diverse and acute colour sensitivity than primates, so the natural fluorescent feathers could give off a beaconlike glow to the objects of attraction.

Micah's Note: This is not the first time this subject has popped up. An earlier article also explored the ability of birds to see deeper into the light spectrum. In particular, this cued scientists into overlooked differentiators between male and females of the species; they might look identical to the human eye, but are actually different when viewed by birds. Definitely worth reading about, and an amusing example of how sometimes we are constrained by a human worldview and human senses when conducting our scientific research.


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About the author

MelSkunk (Melissa Drake)read storiescontact (login required)

a student and Skunk from Toronto, ON, interested in writting, art, classic cars and animals