Yes, agreed. And I'd like to add a couple of points.
1. I think bird calls certainly are important between individuals both
within the same species, and also between individuals of different species,
etc. Further, some warning calls can be "recognised" between, for example,
monkeys and some species of birds.
2. Mammals can also be rather visual in their behaviour. And we can often
"recognise" those behaviours. For example, two cats (muncher or domestic)
demonstrating who's best/strongest, etc. will stand side-on to each other,
pace around each other, and fluff themselves up as much as possible to look
bigger and more powerful than their rival. They also use certain calls to
emphasise their point. Many other mammals do this too.
Hope these thoughts don't start argument, etc.
All the best to birding-aussers
> From: Kim Sterelny <>
> Subject: birding-aus Re: Mammal twitching
> Date: Thursday, 29 July 1999 20:16
> A note on mammal twitching
> The problems of mammal
> identification are not just due to the fact that many are small and
> nocturnal. Birds are very visual animals, by and large, and hence the way
> that members of a species identify one another as potential mates, as
> rivals, as juveniles and the like are often, probably, through visual
> signals that we too can detect (though I expect calls are also often
> important). I bet quite a lot of bird ID depends on our tuning into cues
> that they also use, and which have evolved for those purposes. Much
> signaling is probably olifactory, and we are not equipped with the right
> sensory detectors to use those signals.
> Dr Kim Sterelny
> Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and
> Philosophy, RSSS, Australian Nataional University
> Australian contact information:
> Philosophy, RSSS, Australian National University
> Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
> Phone: 02/6249-2886
> Fax: 02 6249 3294
> Messages with Di Crosse, Program Administrator, 02 6249 2341
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