Members of the Healy Lab attended the easter meeting of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB). Congratulations to Maria who won the poster competition (see below)!
Poster description: Foraging in repeatable sequences like circuits or traplines is a common foraging behavior described for most pollinators. Hummingbirds are thought to trapline when foraging across flower patches, but whether these birds actually repeat a foraging sequence is unknown. Six free-flying male rufous hummingbirds were trained for twenty training trials to feed from two artificial flower arrays. One flower array had three flowers while the other one had five. Each flower within the array was rewarded in an ordinal sequence so that only one flower in the array was rewarded at a time. In both arrays birds did not visited the array at random, but rather started to visit the array by the flower closest to the feeder. In the array of three flowers the hummingbirds showed a primacy and recency effect at the beginning of the training trails. In the array of five flowers birds also showed a recency effect which meant that overall flower 5 was correctly visited above chance level. This is the first study looking at sequence learning in wild animals.