ManyBirds Studies

ManyBirds Study 1 : Neophobia in Birds

Deadline for data collection and submission : 16th April 2023 - now closed

Open-ended pre-registration, including study protocol and data analysis plan
Prepared by the ManyBirds Study 1 Team (finalised November 2021): Rachael Miller (Harrison), Megan Lambert, Stephan Reber, Claudia Mettke-Hofmann, Vedrana Šlipogor, Emma Arbeau
Collaborator Summary
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. 
Materials needed:
  • x 3 novel objects made from household items (see below for guidelines)
  • Video camera
Subjects, Species and Data Collection Sites
We are looking to include as many subjects and species as possible in this study, with no limitations on sex or age. The sample sizes and species included in this study are dependent on multi-site collaborations, with potential contributions from academic labs, zoos, field sites and private homes (Lambert et al., 2021). It is useful, though not essential, for individuals to be identifiable (e.g. leg rings, plumage colouration, body size differences) and to be able to be tested while alone (e.g. temporary visual isolation). Ethical approval is the responsibility of the primary collaborator (see project policies: link) and must be confirmed prior to data collection.  The type of site information should be included with the data sheet, including whether any existing research is invasive or non-invasive. Some data is already collected and available for inclusion in this study. Specifically, we will include a related data set on neophobia in corvids (Miller et al., 2021) as well as a comparable study in parrots (Mettke-Hofmann et al., 2002) with permission and/or collaboration with relevant authors. Additionally, we have collected data for the present study with several hornbill species and Bali myna. 
Study Protocol

Example video trials (from Miller et al., 2022, corvid study). Note: in the present study, we are only including novel object and control conditions (not novel food as per corvid only study). Submission of a pilot video of the test area and novel object(s) is required prior to conducting tests to ensure set-up is as comparable as possible to other sites.

Getting started

If you are contributing data, please:

  • Review the data collection documents (links above), particularly the pre-registration
    Add your site to the data collection overview, including ethical approval confirmation
  • Upload (i) images of your novel objects to the ‘Object photos’ and (ii) a pilot video to your lab folder – inform study team and await confirmation before collecting data
  • Fill out the site description form
  • Happy data collecting!