and how to read them
Unlike us primates, birds do not have the underlying structure of facial muscles and other features which would enable them to communicate via facial expressions. This makes it very difficult for humans to know what a bird's emotional state is at any given time.
Monty has been kind enough to employ his celebrated acting talents in this demonstration, which illustrates the problem...
|(Click for larger image. Original (c) Dyfi Osprey project 2012)|
So, how DO birds communicate with each other? There are two main methods: vocalization and posture.
Most of us are familiar with bird song in the Spring, and contact-calls can be heard some distance away. But there are more subtle communication sounds made by birds, which we often don't hear because they operate at close range - when birds are at the nest, roosting, or feeding in flocks.
This season, and for the first time, Dyfi Osprey Project have equipped their nest platform with broadcast-quality microphones. Unlike other monitored nests, where the sound (if there is any) comes from microphones co-sited with the camera, these might reveal a whole new perspective on osprey communication.
I am totally stoked about this idea. It is going to be fascinating. -Wlw