ManyBirds Projects

Study 1 : Neophobia in Birds

We aim to test neophobia using a novel object test (beside familiar food) and a control test (familiar food alone). We are open to all possible sites (e.g. lab, zoo, field, private – providing appropriate ethical approval is obtained prior to data collection), species and sample sizes, irrespective of age, sex or prior history, and individual or social testing is possible (temporary isolation of individual or testing with aviary-mates otherwise) – please provide this information with data sheet. Testing is expected to take: minimum of 1 test round = 2 trials (1 x control, 1 x novel object, one test per day) or a maximum of 3 test rounds = 6 trials (same as minimum but with two repeats, over ~6 weeks, to allow for repeatability testing). We aim to complete data collection for this study by the end of 2022. 

ManyBirds: A multi-site collaborative Open Science approach to avian cognition and behavior research

Publication : Lambert et al., (2021). ManyBirds: A multi-site collaborative Open Science approach to avian cognition and behavior research. Animal Behavior and Cognition

In this article, we outlined a) the replicability crisis and why we should study birds, including the origin of modern birds, avian brains and convergent evolution of cognition; b) the current state of the avian cognition field, including a ‘snapshot’ review; c) the ManyBirds project, with plans, infrastructure, limitations, implications and future directions. In sharing this process, we hope that this may be useful for other researchers in devising similar projects in other taxa, like non-avian reptiles or mammals, and to encourage further collaborations with ManyBirds and related ManyX projects. Ultimately, we hope to promote collaboration between ManyX projects to allow for wider investigation of the evolution of cognition across all animals, including potentially humans.

Socio-ecological correlates of neophobia in corvids

Publication: Miller et al. (2021) Socio-ecological correlates of neophobia in corvids. Current Biology

Neophobia (i.e. responses to novelty) impacts on adaptability and survival. Previous research indicates there is inter- & intra-species variation in neophobia, though there are few large-scale, comparative studies. Miller et al. (2021) tested neophobia in 10 corvid (members of the crow family) species, comprising 241 subjects, through a multi-lab international collaboration. This study found species differences, identified several socio-ecological drivers (urban habitat, sociality, flock size, caching) of object neophobia, and  individual temporal & contextual repeatability in corvids.