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Weird NewsSquirrels eavesdrop on birds to stay out of danger, study suggests

05:55  05 september  2019
05:55  05 september  2019 Source:   news.sky.com

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Super sleuth squirrels eavesdrop on the chatter of nearby birds to work out when it is safe to sneak past, according to a new study . More than 50 wild eastern grey squirrels in public parks and residential areas were monitored in Ohio, where researchers simulated possible danger by playing a

Super sleuth squirrels eavesdrop on the chatter of nearby birds to work out when it is safe to sneak past, according to a new study . The grey incarnation of the furry-tailed rodents are said to be able to distinguish between different calls made by potential predators, giving them an idea of when is best to.

Squirrels eavesdrop on birds to stay out of danger, study suggests © Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty Images A squirrel sits with a nut in a tree. Super sleuth squirrels eavesdrop on the chatter of nearby birds to work out when it is safe to sneak past, according to a new study.

The grey incarnation of the furry-tailed rodents are said to be able to distinguish between different calls made by potential predators, giving them an idea of when is best to emerge.

Scientists in the US observed the squirrels waiting patiently to come off high alert upon hearing the shriek of a predator call - and becoming more relaxed when they are confident the birds are engaging in more casual chatter.

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“We knew that squirrels eavesdropped on the alarm calls of some bird species, but we were excited to find that they also eavesdrop on non-alarm sounds that indicate the birds feel relatively safe. Perhaps in some circumstances, cues of safety could be as important as cues of danger ,” the study

Suggested users. I bet they eavesdrop on birds to find out who has the best feeders. I could have told you this 20 years ago. You always notice when feeding squirrels , the crows around make a certain caw, and all the squirrels take off up the trees.

More than 50 wild eastern grey squirrels in public parks and residential areas were monitored in Ohio, where researchers simulated possible danger by playing a recording of a dangerous red-tailed hawk.

That clip was followed by songbird chatter or ambient sounds lacking bird calls, and the behaviour of each squirrel was monitored for a further three minutes.

Related Slideshow: 15 Squirrel Facts for Squirrel Appreciation Day (Provided by Mental Floss)

Squirrels eavesdrop on birds to stay out of danger, study suggests
Published in the Plos One journal, the study found every squirrel showed heightened predator vigilance after hearing the hawk - including behaviours such as freezing, looking up or fleeing.

Those who heard the bird chatter playback afterwards displayed less anxiety and returned to normal levels of watchfulness more quickly than squirrels who did not hear the more peaceful sounds.

According to the team behind the research, the results suggest squirrels are able to tap into the casual chatter of many bird species as an indicator of safety.

"We knew that squirrels eavesdropped on the alarm calls of some bird species, but we were excited to find that they also eavesdrop on non-alarm sounds that indicate the birds feel relatively safe," the authors said.

"Perhaps in some circumstances, cues of safety could be as important as cues of danger."

Squirrels eavesdrop on birds to stay out of danger, study suggests .
Super sleuth squirrels eavesdrop on the chatter of nearby birds to work out when it is safe to sneak past, according to a new study. The grey incarnation of the furry-tailed rodents are said to be able to distinguish between different calls made by potential predators, giving them an idea of when is best to emerge.Scientists in the US observed the squirrels waiting patiently to come off high alert upon hearing the shriek of a predator call - and becoming more relaxed when they are confident the birds are engaging in more casual chatter.

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usr: 1
This is interesting!