Conferences

We’ve had a busy few weeks here at the Healy lab, jetting off to all sorts of conferences:

Eira presented not one but two posters for the ESEB meeting at the University of Lausanne, in Switzerland. Both posters focus on nest building in birds, with one detailing the use of different nest material by zebra finches, and the other analysing nest morphology in weaver nests.

Eira poster ida poster

 

 

 

Sue and Lauren attended Behaviour2015 in Cairns, Australia. Along with Carel ten Cate, Sue organized a symposium on Avian Cognition which was very well attended. During the symposium Sue gave a talk about time/place learning in wild hummingbirds and Lauren gave a talk about social learning in nest-building zebra finches. After the conference they visited Macquarie University where Sue gave a departmental seminar on the role of learning in nest-building birds in the Department of Biological Sciences. Their tour continued at Newcastle University where they visited Andrea Griffin (check out their new paper here!)

sue and LG in Newcastle

 

 

 

Last week, Georgina and Nora attended the ASAB Summer Conference at the University of Lincoln. Georgina gave a talk regarding whether parasitoid wasps are “rational”, and Nora spoke about information encoding in tit species, and won a prize for 2nd best talk, so well done!

nora

Paper published: Image analysis of weaverbird nests reveals signature weave patterns

Our paper ‘Image analysis of weaverbird nests reveals signature weave patterns’ was published today in The Royal Society Open Science (DOI:10.1098/rsos.150074).

People can be individually identified by their handwriting or by their artistic creations, including architectural designs. Like us, animals build physical structures, including nests. To determine whether we could assign a construction signature to nest-building weaverbirds we collaborated with texture analysis expert André Backes from Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Brazil, using computer-aided texture analysis to classify the weave patterns in their nests. We found that individual weaverbirds did indeed produce nests with signature weave patterns. This shows both that like us individual animals have distinct construction styles and that texture analysis can be used to detect this individuality.

Four nest built by two Southern Masked weaverbirds illustrating differences in nest texture between males. The two nests in the top row are built by male (A) and those in the bottom row by male (B).

Four nest built by two Southern Masked weaverbirds illustrating differences in nest texture between males. The two nests in the top row are built by male (A) and those in the bottom row by male (B).