Birds see a very different world to the one we’re familiar with, and now we can get a hint of what that looks like thanks to a specially designed camera that simulates birdo-vision. Apart from being fascinating, the resulting images also explain why birds can navigate so accurately through dense foliage.
Apart from being fascinating, the resulting images also explain why birds can navigate so accurately through dense foliage. Behavioural biologist Cynthia Tedore formerly from Lund University in Sweden explains that the team wanted to look for patterns in nature that birds see, but scientists have not yet thought to look for.
They chose to explore bird vision because birds are very visually orientated – they use their sight to forage and hunt for food – and unlike human eyes, bird eyes can detect a fourth colour.
In our eyes, we have three types of colour receptors, or cones – they are sensitive to red, blue and green frequencies of light. Birds have a fourth receptor that varies across species in the type of frequency it can detect.
Some birds, like Australian honeyeaters, have their fourth colour receptors sensitive to violet light; in others, such as parrots, these cones can detect light further into the UV part of the spectrum.
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