Can baby birds really imprint on humans?
Precocial birds are those capable of moving around on their own soon after hatching, and it's for these birds - like geese, ducks and grouse - that imprinting is strongest.
Imprinting is a survival strategy that occurs when a newly hatched bird sees another animal and then forms a strong attachment to it. Usually, it’s the baby’s mother, but sometimes it can be an inanimate object, such as a stick, or a different animal, such as a human.
The most impressive demonstration of this has to be from Italian hang glider pilot Angelo d’Arrigo. He reared a flock of Siberian cranes under the wing of his hang glider, and then in 2003, guided them all the way from northern Siberia to the Caspian Sea in Iran; a journey of 5,500km.
- How do baby birds breathe inside their eggs?
- Can different bird species understand each other’s songs?
- How does a small bird such as a robin produce such a loud sound?
- Could a bird fly in space if provided with oxygen?
Asked by: Gary Simms, via email
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