do birds know their owners

It’s not quite “The Birds,” but South Korean researchers say they’ve determined that a species of avian living in the Antarctic can recognize individual humans – and target those they deem a threat while leaving bystanders unscathed.

The species of bright bird in question is the Antarctic skua, which lives on the Antarctic Peninsula and subantarctic islands in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.

According to the authors of a study published in the journal Animal Cognition, breeding pairs correctly identified and targeted a human who had previously approached their nest and handled eggs and young birds. Meanwhile, they ignored a “neutral” human who hadn’t been seen before.

“We found that, as nest visits were repeated, the skua parents responded at further distances and were more likely to attack the nest intruder,” the researchers wrote.

Of course, animals recognizing specific humans isn’t unprecedented. Dogs, especially, recognize their owners, and there are plenty of stories of wild animals forming bonds with people.

And it isn’t the first time such research has suggested that birds can recognize individual humans. For instance, a 2012 study showed that trained pigeons could distinguish one human from another, according to Science Daily.

But the research does seem to bolster the idea that the birds’ “pre-existing high intelligence” allowed them to develop the ability to discern individuals, rather than a competing theory that wild animals develop such abilities as the result of repeated exposure to humans.

The birds in the study have historically received little exposure to humans, the researchers said. Ad Feedback Ad Feedback Ad Feedback Ad Feedback

Birds Remember—and Dislike—Eye Contact

do birds know their owners

We’re often told to look people in the eye—whether it’s on a date, in a job interview, or meeting a new friend. But in the wild bird world, direct eye contact signals danger. That’s because it mimics the gaze that a predator has on its prey. So when humans look directly at a bird, or even in their direction, birds take note. One UK study by the University of Bristol found that starlings kept away from their food dish if a human was gazing in its direction, only to feed as soon as the human looked elsewhere.

Crows, too, are very responsive to human eye contact. Research shows that when humans gaze directly at crows, they fly away with greater urgency than when humans approach them without a glance. Most birds don’t care for direct eye contact from humans, so if you’re looking to forge a bird bond, best avert your gaze.

Birds Remember Your Kindness

do birds know their owners

Birds remember good deeds, whether they are hanging bird feeders, planting native berry bushes, or erecting bird houses and nest boxes. Indeed, they will frequently visit locations where they are aware of being welcomed. Additionally, certain untamed avian species, such as the amiable American Robin, closely observe when you replenish feeders and clean your birdbath. Indeed, a lot of people who feed the birds in their backyard say they have a remarkable ability to sense when the feeder needs to be refilled. That’s because they always have access to a consistent supply of food and water. It’s also due to their keen senses: wild birds listen for water to trickle and use their extraordinary vision to find even the tiniest seeds (as well as birds that are gathering and feeding). Therefore, don’t assume that your insignificant act of filling a bird feeder has gone unnoticed the next time!

Here’s how to build a backyard bird sanctuary that your feathered friends will want to visit again and again.

The researchers discovered that when nest visits increased in frequency, the skua parents reacted at greater distances and were more inclined to attack the intruder.

The Antarctic skua is the species of bright bird in question; it inhabits the Antarctic Peninsula as well as subantarctic islands in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans.

Of course, animals recognizing specific humans isn’t unprecedented. Particularly dogs are able to identify their owners, and numerous accounts exist of untamed animals developing relationships with humans.

And it isn’t the first time such research has suggested that birds can recognize individual humans. For instance, a 2012 study showed that trained pigeons could distinguish one human from another, according to Science Daily.

The study’s birds have historically had limited human interaction, according to the researchers. Ad Feedback Ad Feedback Ad Feedback Ad Feedback.


Do birds bond with their owners?

Some birds will form attachments to humans over other birds if they have been raised away from their flocks. And these attachments aren’t transactional for their advantage, such as when it’s time for their dinner. These are actual bonds between a bird and their human.

How long can a bird remember you?

Birds Remember Your Face Pigeons know who you are even after you change clothes, and are more likely to get out of your way if you’ve shooed them in the past. And magpies remember faces for years—and the actions that go with those faces.

Can birds tell if you’re watching them?

University of Bristol. “Birds Can Tell If You Are Watching Them — Because They Are Watching You.” ScienceDaily.

Do birds pick a favorite person?

A lot of birds are social and would prefer to spend 80%-99% of their day with their favorite person/people. This is their flock. Often they will “flock call” to check on the whereabouts and safety of their human when out of sight.