Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Fears that Birds Have

I did a Google search of the neurobiology of birds yesterday. Didn’t spend much time on the subject, but learned that many other people have. There is a big program at Cornell University in NY. You can do a course at home. This covers not only the neuroscience, but just about every aspect of bird biology. You can get a copy of their handbook at Amazon. Some reviewers noted that the course, or the book, totally changed their attitude toward and their appreciation of birds. I have been regularly hearing the woodthrush, one of the most beautiful songs. Just about every day in the woods close by our house. That bird was gone from here, or at least I didn’t hear it, for two or three years. It was so wonderful hearing it in the early morning darkness, in the cool of springtime. I am glad it's back. Check it out at this link

Let me know what you think!! With that Google search noted above I learned that birds, just like humans, have 12 cranial nerves. They have been given the same names as ours. I need to know more about the functioning of those nerves. I want to know about the sympathetic and parasympathetic connections, anatomic and functional. The deeper issue is how birds know what to be afraid of. How does that play out neurobiologically and mentally? How much more integrated are they than we, who have been taught since Roman times that fear is a sign of weakness?

1 comment:

  1. Ray,

    As a child and young person, I never took much interest in birds. I thought bird-people were strange. I generally grouped them with the likes of Miss Hathaway, the banker's secretary from the Beverly Hillbillies. A TV show that has influences many of my early opinions, hee-hee.

    Now, I suppose I have matured. Thank goodness.

    I don't know the names of the birds, nor do I recognize their songs. But in my backyard, I can sit very still in the morning until the birds become accustomed to me. They come rather close to me now with bird bath and the feeder.

    Close enough for me to see the color on the edges of their feathers.

    The color combos are incredible. I have learned to mix browns into my paintings against vibrant blue and blue/green from looking at these birds.

    I also have to come to realize the reason the color on birds seems so spectacular is that it is rare. Birds are small. Just a small dot of color inside a huge, green landscape makes the color feel special and rare.

    Watching the birds in my backyard is like finding small, private color treasures.

    great blog - BTW !