Posted: February 9, 2012, 4:15 p.m. PST
New research shows that zebra finches might use smell to locate relatives.
The sense of smell in birds has been hotly debated, but new research shows it might be stronger than initially thought. In a new study, “Olfactory Kin Recognition In A Songbird,” published in the journal Biology Letters, scientists discovered that the zebra finches
can recognize their relatives using their sense of smell. To show this, researchers separated the zebra finch chicks from their parents when they hatched. When the chicks were around 30 days old, the researchers gave them samples of odors from their parents’ nest and the nest they were raised in.
The chicks chose the nest of their parents’, which told researchers that they could smell their relatives. While they are not sure if all birds have this type of sense of smell, they strongly believe that many songbirds do. Read the study here.