Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Avian Einsteins" Fuel My Bird Thang

I was excited to recently see a video on Facebook from my friend, Beth Taylor... an incredibly smart and funny woman... regarding a conference at the World Science Festival back on June 2-13th, 2009.    World Science Festival?   I know.  I probably wouldn't have watched it if it wasn't endorsed by my friend Beth.   It had  segment with Bobby McFerrin (yes, of music with only his mouth fame) in a conference called Tones and Neurtrons.  This segment was about 3 minutes and it was riveting.  Really!  Then, I ran across another conference there called Avian Einsteins.  This was a study about learning to speak... the connections between language and movement... through birds.  Again... the series of video segments were spellbinding.  ( Apology to my parents for not being a fraction of this interested in high school or college about neuroscience.  My bad. ) The inspiration and motivation behind these studies came from video of a cockatoo named Snowball.  The video has over 3.5 million hits in the year it's been on the web... and with an avian scientist owner now, this bird has over 12 self taught dance routines ... and making up more all the time!  

Snowball's original owner loved the Back Street Boys and played them non-stop.  Apparently, Snowball doesn't mind their music even after all these years.   

Here's another dancing bird,  Frostie, who loves songs with a good beat too... in this case, Ray Charles singing "Let Me See You Shake Your Tail Feather"! 

Why the interest?  Birds are really smart!  They are a lot like humans.  They like to be chatty and social, they  mate for life, they imitate what they like, they have friends and enemies, they each have a signature song and when slowed down for our ears, those songs are beautiful!... and like the chimp, they invent tools!   If you watch the video, be sure you check out the one about the crow that makes a hook out of small piece of wire using its mouth and a hole in the wall and fishes out a small pail of food.  Brilliant.

This just hammers home from a previous confession... I dig birds!

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