Mockingbirds Know Who You Are, Will Get You Back

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted May 19, 2009 8:12 AM CDT

(Newser) – Mockingbirds recognize humans who have threatened their nests and single them out to dive bomb even days later, scientists have discovered. When a population of urban birds monitored by researchers spotted a previously threatening human, they screeched and set off to harass the person with swooping dives, at times grazing the tops of their heads. The study is the first published account of wild animals in a natural setting recognizing individuals of another species.

Scientists speculate the ability allows mockingbirds to thrive in cities, where other species fail. "Sixty seconds of exposure was all it took for mockingbirds to learn to identify different individuals and pick them out," said a researcher.