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The Sensory Ecology of Birds$
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Graham R. Martin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199694532

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199694532.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 June 2021

Birds’ Eye Views

Birds’ Eye Views

(p.1) 1 Birds’ Eye Views
The Sensory Ecology of Birds

Graham R. Martin

Oxford University Press

From views taken at high altitudes, to the videos recorded by cameras mounted on a flying eagle, so-called birds’ eye views are commonplace. But are they really what a bird sees? What really is a bird’s world? The Greek philosopher Epicurus argued that each animal experiences a different world, leading him to question the basis of human reality; in turn this led to Scepticism and the scientific method. Modern techniques of sensory ecology applied to birds show how correct Epicurus was. Sensory information in birds is uniquely and finely tuned to the ecology and behaviours of each species. Different sensory information is tradedoff, and specific knowledge of places and situations are necessary to cope with natural conditions when environmental information is sparse or lacking. The worlds in which birds live are as diverse as their species and are essential to their description and to our understanding of their behaviours.

Keywords:   Senses, vision, sensory ecology, bird’s eye view, scepticism, hearing, touch, olfaction

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