Scientists interested in cognitive ethology have begun to study learning in vertebrate and invertebrate animals, bolstered by the work of neurobiologists, who have discovered that any animal with loops between thalamus and forebrain is a conscious thinker. Birds, mammals, and reptiles all have such loops.
By early February, bird calls begin morphing into songs. In the “fee-bee” of black-capped chickadees, the “peter-peter” of tufted titmice, and the more complex, bright caroling of house finches, I hear the beginning sounds of spring. At first the resident birds seem unaffected by the weather. The overwintering song sparrow sings “hip, hip hoorah, boys, […]