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Reply to "Brainy Animals"

The tiny rufous hummingbird, which is barely 9 cm. long, has a brain 7,000 times smaller than a human's, according to scientists.

Researchers have discovered that this tiny hummingbird, which each day feeds on hundreds of flowers containing just a fraction of a drop of nectar, has a mighty memory that can pinpoint the location of the flowers it has visited and when the nectar in each would be replenished.

Rufous hummingbird is barely 9 cm. long and weighs very little (less than a small coin), is considered the most feisty and nomadic of hummingbirds. It has the longest known bird migration proportional to its body size. It travels between its wintering grounds in the southern United States and Mexico to its breeding grounds in Western Canada and as far north as Alaska.

Information from The Globe and Mail newspaper.

A team of Canadian, British and Scottish researchers monitored three male hummingbirds during their summer migration to the Rocky Mountain region in Alberta, Canada.

While hummingbirds are drawn to anything colorful to find food-bearing flowers, the birds in this study were first shown that they could feed from artificial flowers.
The researchers set up eight wooden stakes holding up different colors of cardboard flowers, each fitted with a small nozzle holding a sucrose solution.
Half of the flowers were refilled at 10 minute intervals, while the rest were refilled 20 minutes after they were drained.
The researchers found the birds returning to the flowers according to refill schedule, and not visiting flowers that they had already drained.
Even more remarkably, according to the study, the birds were able to update their memories in specific intervals as they visited each flower throughout the day.

Information from The Globe and Mail newspaper

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